In my first post I projected which players I thought might make up the Sabres roster next year. You can find that post here: http://www.diebytheblade.com/2014/5/18/5729146/in-depth-view-of-sabres-roster-next-year-part-1
In my second I gave in in-depth brake down of the players’ strengths and weaknesses and included their projected stats and highlights: http://www.diebytheblade.com/2014/5/31/5767890/sabres-roster-next-year-part-2-player-strengths-and-weaknesses-with
Today I am focusing on the offseason. The trades, draft, and dreams of what we as Sabres fans want our team to be, not just next year but in the dynasty we are going to build. (Remember: part of this post is about dreaming!) I have constructed the team I want after two more seasons of what I feel will be missing the playoffs. By 2016 I think we can begin the start of our run as a contender. A young team with a elite core and still owning your picks with a strong prospect system is ideal. That way when players price themselves out they can be replaced with a prospect or through trade while remaining a contending team like the Blackhawks. The team I constructed is full of speed, size, and scoring.
Evander Kane - Jack Eichel- Bobby Ryan
Ryan O'Reilly - Sam Reinhart- Joel Armia
Marcus Foligno- Zemgus Girgensons- Milan Lucic
Pat Kaleta- Johan Larsson -Nic Deslauriers
I tried to have a top six of elite two way forwards with players whose best skill is putting the puck in the net. There is elite talent on these lines, players who can score among the best and be able to match up against the Crosby’s and Kane’s of the league.
Players with size who have speed, will hit, and who can score when given the chance. There is enough skill on those lines to play in the offensive zone while being best at playing a game along the walls. There is a good mix of size with skill, players that can play a tough game but also score and fly out there, a mix of vets and youth with an edge towards young. I even have a player we love to hate but who can fill an important playoff role on this team.
Rasmus Ristolainen - Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Mark Pysyk - Nikita Zadorov
Jake McCabe- Cam Fowler
Very young but supremely talented. There are enough young vets who have played enough games in the league to be entering their prime years. The skill that all the d-men have is skating, they can all move out there with a few of them being able and willing to lay the lumber. Size is another common trait that makes this group imposing. Good passing is another shared trait and having an elite offensive defenseman like Ekman-Larsson takes the pressure off the rest of the bunch who by chipping in their points make the unit strong at both ends of the ice.
Murray like big goalies and Neuvirth outplays Enroth next year earning a contract extension. Plus he’s a Czech goalie and I think it’d be cool to have another top Czech goalie. Now no one can compare to Hasek, I just like the synergy. So he plays well and remains the starter with Makarov being first to back up and having Linus Ullmark as the starter in Rochester.
If we could pull off the team below I think we’d be well on our way. What would you do?
We trade Hodgson and the Islanders first (unless it’s a top ten then we use it) to the Winnipeg Jets for Evander Kane.
We trade Ehrhoff, Mikhail Grigorenko, and a 2017 second to Colorado for Ryan O’Reilly
Sign Bobby Ryan
Draft Jack Eichel
Sign Milan Lucic
Trade J.T. Compher, Tyler Myers, and a 2016 second to Phoneix for Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Trade Chad Ruhedwel, a 2017 first, and a 2016 second to Anaheim for Cam Fowler
Draft defenseman in first round to replenish prospect pool
No 1st or 2nd round picks but the team is full of young players with the core under contract. There are prospects like Nick Baptiste, Hudson Fasching, Justin Bailey, coming as forwards, Peterson and Ullmark coming as goalies, but no real top defenseman prospects. Our d-core is so young that we can get away with this and the 2016 first may help and next offseason we will have all our picks while having a young contending team on the rise.