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Die by the Blade Roundtable #2

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A couple of months ago we had a roundtable discussion with all of the bloggers here at Die by the Blade. We had a lot of fun doing it and we were happy with the discussion here so we decided to do it again. With the trade deadline behind us, we thought this would be the perfect time to hold our second blogger roundtable. Unfortunately Zach and Andy were not able to join us but we tried our best to get along without them.

We touched on a number of Buffalo Sabres topics including the trade deadline and our thoughts on the Sabres chances this season.

Topics
  • Did the Sabres do enough at the trade deadline?
  • Who would you like to see the Sabres play in the playoffs?
  • Should be worried about the Sabres offense?
  • Is Chris Butler ready to get back in the lineup?
  • Will the Sabres hold off the Ottawa Senators and win the Northeast Division?

David Oleksy: 

The most obvious topic is the trade deadline. The Sabres acquired Raffi Torres while sending away Nathan Paetsch and Clarke MacArthur. Do you think the Sabres did enough to be considered Stanley Cup contenders?

Rafal Ladysz: 

It's hard to say, but I don't think they did enough. The back line could have used another defenseman if not for offensive purposes, then just for playoff experience because we're still seeing mistakes made by the defense and that's always worrying especially with the postseason so close.

Dave Davis: 

All they did was make a slight upgrade at LW. That's not enough to give them a lot of hope against Pittsburgh or Washington in a 7 game series. If they get the Ryan Miller we saw early in the season then an upset is certainly possible.

David Oleksy: 

I'm not sure there were very many defenseman available that could have made the Sabres better. I think they addressed a need by acquiring Torres and any team that has Ryan Miller between the pipes has a chance to contend for the Stanley Cup.

Rafal Ladysz: 

You're right about the market being slim with defenseman but it's still a need and there were guys out there who could have helped.

Dave Davis: 

The price was high for some of these rental players and for not overpaying Regier should be commended ... but of course he won't.

Rafal Ladysz: 

I'll say this, they, as a team, were rock-solid in Detroit yesterday. Everyone had active sticks, got in the shooting lanes and without that late penalty; I believe we could have won.

David Oleksy: 

I agree Dave. Darcy should be commended for not overpaying. I think the Sabres defense is a bit underrated. They have their flaws but overall I like this defensive unit.

Dave Davis: 

It would've been nice to make a bigger upgrade but I don't think there was a great deal out there to be made - so you go with what you have and retool in the summer.

Rafal Ladysz: 

Any concerns about guys like Sekera and Myers about to be making their debut in the postseason?

David Oleksy: 

I think there has to be some concern but the only way players get experience is to do it. If the Sabres were in the Capitals position it might have been worth getting some veteran presence but the best thing for the Sabres future is to let these guys play.

Dave Davis: 

I'm looking forward to see how Myers handles it. Not worried about it since their opponent will also likely have rookies in their lineup.

Dave Davis: 

I'm looking at the standings wondering who I'd like to see as a 1st round opponent...

David Oleksy: 

Great question...who would you like to see as a first round opponent?

David Oleksy: 

I think it is important to finish third because Pittsburgh or New Jersey would not be high on my list of possible opponents.

Rafal Ladysz: 

I'd like to see montreal, boston or philadelphia because those teams suit us.

David Oleksy: 

Looking down the standings to sixth and beyond, I think the Flyers would probably be the toughest first round opponent.

Dave Davis: 

If they're a #3 seed I don't see any overall advantage between playing Ottawa or Philly. Montreal is running so hot right now they could even get the #6. It's one of those deals where you just worry about your own game and take on whoever comes into your building.

Rafal Ladysz: 

With Miller back there, I'm not worried but everyone must do their part.

DiebytheBlade-DO: 

Ottawa scares me because of the obvious struggles against them recently.

Rafal Ladysz: 

I think Ottawa scares everyone who is rooting for Buffalo.

David Oleksy: 

Offensive production has been a problem for the Sabres just about all season. What do you make of Patrick Kaleta getting to play with Derek Roy and Thomas Vanek?

Rafal Ladysz: 

I actually like it. Kaleta has shown massive improvements in his overall game by skating better and working on his shot. I could picture him fighting for pucks along the boards and helping Roy and Vanek score. He's earned it in my mind.

Dave Davis: 

He's earned the chance but a lot of it is the injury situation. The only healthy offensive talent who typically plays the right side is Pominville. To me it's not a long term solution.

DiebytheBlade-DO: 

I think Kaleta has been fantastic this season but why are they trying to make him into something he is not? Kaleta is and always will be a fourth line or fringe third line player.

DiebytheBlade-DO: 

Why not keep Mancari here for a couple of more games? That line was playing well       until he was sent back down.

Dave Davis: 

He was on emergency recall and by rules he had to go back down when Gaustad came back.

DiebytheBlade-DO: 

They could have placed him on re-entry waivers and kept him on the team if he cleared

DiebytheBlade-DO: 

Do you think someone would have claimed him?

Dave Davis: 

Well if you're that high on him it would seem contradictory to expose him to waivers.

Rafal Ladysz: 

He seems like an enigmatic player; one day he's hot, the next he's nowhere to be found.

Dave Davis: 

Few years ago they probably didn't think Chris Thorburn would be claimed either.

Dave Davis: 

Not 100% on this but my understanding of the rule is that after 10 days they could bring him back.

DiebytheBlade-DO: 

I guess that makes sense. I just find it frustrating that Patrick Kaleta is the best option to play as a top six forward. We keep hearing about how good the players in Portland are and yet Kaleta is now a top six forward.

Rafal Ladysz: 

Mark my words, Kaleta will one day be a Burrows type of player.

David Oleksy: 

Not a chance. Burrows has more talent in his left arm than Kaleta has in his whole body.

Dave Davis: 

It gets back to the issue that there's a lack of forward depth on this team. Regier is very high on the farm system and is going to count on a couple of them coming through ... next year.

David Oleksy: 

Don't get me wrong, I love Kaleta as a player but he is not Alex Burrows. Burrows can play in the top six and does and like I said before, Kaleta is a fourth/third line energy guy.

 

Rafal Ladysz: 

Think about it, Burrows kills penalties and scores shorthanded markers. Kaleta has started doing that this year and he'll probably score more goals in his third season than Burrows did. Their career trajectories are similar and Kaleta is growing as an overall player. I have faith in him.

David Oleksy: 

I hope he proves me wrong but I just don't see it happening. If Kaleta can play every season like he is this one, he will have had a very successful career.

Rafal Ladysz: 

The odd man out on defense lately has been Chris Butler. How do you guys feel about that? Do you think maybe someone else should be sitting and Butler should be playing?

David Oleksy: 

It's about time. Butler has been the Sabres most inconsistent defenseman for most of the season and I felt Sekera deserved a shot to play. Sekera still makes some awful mistakes but I like his ability to carry the puck.

Rafal Ladysz: 

Sekera was amazing yesterday, shutting down Datsyuk and Zetterberg effectively through the game which as we know is no easy task.

Dave Davis: 

One thing I like about Ruff is that he doesn't tinker with his lineup when the team gets a little win streak going. If you get kicked out you're not back in until they lose. I'm sure we'll see him back very soon. I'm still optimistic about him and think he'll be a good player.

Rafal Ladysz: 

Aside from his plus-minus and defensive errors at times, he's had a pretty solid offensive year. I believe only Myers has more points than him among the D

DiebytheBlade-DO: 

I agree about his future. Butler is still young and is expected to play inconsistent. With the experience he has already had in the NHL, he will be a good defenseman in the future.

DiebytheBlade-DO: 

He has a lot of assists on the power play. I don't want to discount that but sometimes that is as much about luck as it is skill.

Rafal Ladysz: 

Who's had the toughest year in terms of not living up to expectations or playing to their full capacity?

Dave Davis: 

#21

David Oleksy: 

Take your pick. Every offensive player with the exception of Connolly and Hecht is having a down year.

David Oleksy: 

Stafford has some lofty expectations but maybe he has reached his career potential. I would say that Derek Roy is the one player I expected more from.

Rafal Ladysz: 

True, but first has to be Vanek. Going from 40 goals to less than 30 doesn't work for a sniper who we need.

David Oleksy: 

Was Vanek ever really a sniper? He scored 20 goals on the power play last season and most of them came from in close.

Rafal Ladysz: 

He can pick the corners or make some shifty moves and I truly believe he is a sniper.

David Oleksy: 

Will the Sabres hold off the Ottawa Senators and win the Northeast Division?

Rafal Ladysz: 

Yes, Ottawa is struggling increasingly since the Olympic break and fired just 14 shots on Roberto Luongo yesterday. They've been flat and I think we'll take it when it's all said and done.

David Oleksy: 

I think a combination of the Sabres playing better and the Sens struggling will give the Sabres the Northeast Division. There are still those games against Ottawa to worry about though.

Rafal Ladysz: 

Two more?

David Oleksy: 

I believe they play two more times

Dave Davis: 

Sabres schedule isn't too bad. Half their games are against non-playoff teams.