Taking Over for Kevyn Adams
This is a FanPost written by bdn00707.
Thank you for reading my first attempt at replacing Kevyn Adams and leading this young Sabres team into the playoffs. As someone who has just created my account, I've always loved reading the discussions and entertainment provided by this site. Don't know what took me so long lol. I’ve been a Sabres fan all my life and this is the first offseason in a very long time where you can feel the optimism around the city. Some of my fondest memories involve listening to RJ with my brother on an old portable radio that we hid from my parents because it was past our bedtime. Our heroes were mostly on the amazing 05-06 playoff run including Brian Campbell, Tim Connolly and Maxim Afinogenov. This GM for a day will focus on what I think the Sabres should do this offseason to set up the team for many years of contention.
Round 1 Pick 19: Tom Willander, RHD, Rogle
Pick 19? No, I didn’t get the draft order wrong. I plan to swap 1st round picks with the Winnipeg Jets and charge them RD Dylan Demelo for our troubles. To kick off there rebuild I think they want to get a premier center and I think there would be more options at 13 than 6 picks later at 19. Demelo is worth a 2nd round pick, so his value is consistent with past trades of 1st round picks. I know these deals don’t happen often, but I am exploring all avenues when trying to acquire another top 4 defenseman. Other options I considered was swapping with NSH and adding RD Fabbro or maybe Chicago for RD Murphy. Now I always advocate for taking the BPA but I think around pick 19 is where our needs match up with the BPA. The Sabres need to restock their defensive prospects so the ones I am looking at are Wallinder, Bonk and Simashev. If all 3 are still available, I am picking Wallinder. Wallinder is a mobile two-way defenseman and is importantly a right shot defenseman. He makes fantastic outlet passes and has the smarts to close gaps and force the issue with opposing forwards. The Sabres love their Swedes and Wallinder fits right in. The other two listed are more DFD as Bonk is a simple no-nonsense defender while Simashev is an insane skater that reminds me a lot of Samuelsson.
Round 2 Pick 7: Kasper Halhutten RW, HIFK
For my first pick in the second round (Thanks Risto!) I am selecting Kasper Halhutten. Coming in at a mammoth 6 foot 3 207 lbs as a 17-year-old I want to develop this beast into a scary power forward that dominates every time he sets foot on the ice. He struggled a bit in the top Finnish league but returning to his age group he looked like a first round talent. If his confidence improves as well as his smarts to take on grown men, he should grow into a fantastic player. Other options I would consider here are Jayden Perron or Danny Nelson.
Round 2 Pick 13: Maxim Strbak RHD, Sioux Falls Stampede
For this pick I am continuing to stock up defenseman and selecting either Maxim Strbak or Beau Akey. Strbak is a physical defenseman with some size that can beat up opposing forwards. He is great at clearing out the crease and positioning in the defensive zone. He is also a major part of the penalty kill which is probably the Sabres #1 weakness. Probably will have to work on his offensive game but his strong suit is defense. Will join Michigan St next year. The other option, Akey, is a great skater who uses his speed and smarts to shut down the opposition. He is fantastic at roaming throughout the ice and always being an option for the pass.
RFAs and Extensions
LW Linus Weissbach, 1 year 800K AAV
Weissbach was a key contributor for Rochester and continued to get better. Probably won’t be in the show with he blue and gold but his speed and transition is great for the way Rochester plays.
LW Brett Murray 1 year 850K AAV
Brett the giant is continuing to grow in Rochester and is a dark horse to become a member of the Sabres. Love seeing his size on the ice.
RW Lukas Rousek 2 years 975K AAV
An awesome cameo with the Sabres last season. I think Rousek has shown what it takes to become an NHL player and I see him as a 3rd/4th line winger rotating with Okposo as the 13th forward.
LD Kale Clague 2 years 900K AAV
Clague was a steady 6th/7th defenseman last season. With improvements on the back end he will lead Rochester and be a call up if injuries hit. Would not be upset if he feels he can find a better role somewhere else. *****I would love to re-sign Tyson Jost but I fear that he is replaceable. He was amazing as a waiver claim and definitely fit in with the team culture. I think he can find a stronger more consistent role somewhere else in the NHL. As a 4th line center, he isn’t a good enough penalty killer or faceoff man to employ. Would rather play the kids.
Extensions: LHD Rasmus Dahlin, 7 years 10 million AAV
Played at a Norris caliber level for the season and deserves to be the highest paid player on the team. With the cap going up these next couple years I think he earned the 10 million.
LHD Owen Power, 7 years 7.5 million AAV
NHL players value security so locking up Power long term so early in his career would be a great move. This may be a little cheap for a number one pick but similar deals for Cozens and Thompson set a precedent.
G Malcolm Subban, 2 years 900K
Awesome playoff performance lock him up for 2 more years and have him guide a strong Rochester team.
G Michael Houser, 1 year 790K
Backup for Subban. Quality backup.
RD Austin Strand, 1 year 790K
Right shot defenseman resigning for Rochester.
RD Joseph Cecconi, 1 year 790K
RD Noah Juulsen, 1 year 800K
Former first round pick that has been bouncing around AHL teams. If Granato or Appert can get their hands on him they could nurture the talent that is in there. Defense first defenseman that could be a call up for Sabres if injury bug hits. Might sign somewhere else for more of a shot in the NHL.
C Sean Malone, 1 year 800K
Local boy providing veteran leadership down in the AHL. Strong AHL playoff experience.
NHL UFA: I am writing this after Okposo resigned with Buffalo.
C Noel Acciari, 2 years 2.75 million
I still don’t think Buffalo is a top UFA destination, so I don’t see us being very active in free agency. Acciari would be an amazing get as he provided much needed grit in our bottom 6. He is strong in the faceoff dot as well as the PK. Also hits a ton which will endear him to the fans and the physicality crowd. I also selfishly want another No. 52 on the Sabres (Shoutout Craig Rivet). Other options for this spot are Kampf and Nosek. Both would be similar AAV and strong faceoff/penalty kill centers.
****Let go: Girgensons, Hinostroza, Pilut. Girgensons will probably want term on his next contract. I’m not willing to give him more than 1 year because we need to open up spots for our talented prospects. I see him going down to Pittsburgh and signing with the Penguins. Hinostroza is an extra forward that the Sabres don’t need. I think Pilut could probably find a role on an NHL roster, but I think his time in Buffalo has ended. Loved Larry on the Americans if he wanted to stay down there.
To BUF: 2023 1st Round pick (19th OA), RHD Dylan DeMelo
To WPG: 2023 1st Round pick 13th OA
This is the trade at the draft to pick up a top 4 defenseman to partner with Owen Power. Demelo is a steady presence that seemed to have a fantastic effect on younger players. He averaged around 19/20 minutes a game on Winnipeg and I think could soak up minutes. I think Power will reach another level with Demelo as his partner. A right shot vet is exactly what this Sabres defense needed.
To BUF: 2023 5th Round pick (VGK)
To ARI: Jacob Bryson
I would give Bryson for whatever I can get. Maybe someone like LAK or CHI that could use a bottom pair left hand defenseman. I have him going to the Coyotes here but anywhere is fine. Bryson looked out of his depth last season and with the improvements I don’t see a place for him in Buffalo.
To BUF: 2024 2nd round pick (DAL)
To DAL: Victor Olofsson (2,375,000 retained)
I would trade Vic anywhere for a 2nd round pick. I’d retain the salary to ensure I can get the top value I can because I don’t see a role for him in Buffalo anymore. During our most important games of the season, he was a healthy scratch. He should thrive on a team where he can just unleash his shot all game with a playmaking center.
To BUF: Alex Iafallo
To LAK: 2024 2nd round pick, 2024 3rd round pick
This is more of a fantasy trade for me and probably would have to include a little more value. Maybe I would add a prospect like Biro or Kisakov as well. The Kings need to dump salary to meet cap constraints and sign guys like Korpisalo and Gavrikov. I know it looks likely that Arvidsson is the one to be sold but I would enquire about the local kid Iafallo. Iafallo is a great two way forward who sees time on the PP2 out in LA. I would hope he could have a similar effect as Tuch did last season and just lift the group because of his love of the area. He would be a huge help on the wing defensively as well as keep up with the free-flowing attack of the Sabres. IN: 2024 4th round pick One last move I would do is become a facilitator for a team that needs cap space. Similar to what the Wild did on last years trade deadline. This is the last year we could weaponize cap so I would be willing to obtain salary for future assets. Similarly, if we cannot acquire a 4th line center via free agency, I would use our cap space to take Barclay Goodrow from NYR plus a few picks. They are in a cap crunch and need to pay to give him away. He would be a nice addition to that 4th line.
******Last note on trades is that Johnson will probably not sign with Buffalo, so we receive a 2024 2nd round pick.
Scratches: LW Cederqvist, LW Passolt, C Olischefski, D Bartkowski, D Eliot
Ostlund back to the SHL. I want to keep Kulich in the AHL as the top callup because I want him to play center and improve his all-around game. We all know his offense is NHL caliber, but I want him experiencing defensive duties and responsibilities as a center. Basically create a more well-rounded Olofsson. Top callups would be Kulich, Biro, Murray, Clague, Juulsen. This roster can be a powerhouse and will go deep in playoffs. Hopefully having Clague and Juulsen will improve the defense for this year, so they are less reliant on the offense.
So to start off I am giving Savoie the Shane Wright treatment. He will play his 9 games by rotating with other forwards then sent to AHL for conditioning stint. Then it’s off to the WJC with Canada. Hopefully he lights it up and then returns to the Winnipeg Ice to close out the season strong. With this lineup the Sabres have an impressive young group of forwards with 3 really strong scoring lines. I debated adding Mitts to the top line after his tear at the end of the year. Maybe Thompson could run his own line with Peterka/Iafallo.
I would like to see Krebs on the 3rd line eventually if Greenway doesn’t improve. Defensively I would ride the top 4 horses and Joker/Boosh will improve with more favorable matchups. The biggest gamble would be in goal. I am not opposed to adding a veteran starter to ease the burden, but I want to see UPL in front of a competent defense. He was left on his own way too much due to the forwards jumping early out of the zone and shambolic defending in front of him. I don’t expect Levi to carry a true number one workload, so I want UPL and Comrie to do some heavy lifting as well. I think I could use paper transactions with Levi to include Savoie early in the year. Or if I want to add another player that is another option as well.
Picks: 2023: WPG 1st, PHI 2nd, BUF 2nd, LAK 3rd, BUF 4th, BUF 5th, VGK 5th, BUF 6th, BUF 7th 2024: BUF 1st, DAL 2nd, Compensatory 2nd, BUF 4th, Random 4th, BUF 6th, BUF 7th Cap hit: 2023/2024: 73,715,247 (CapFriendly)
Thank you for reading this far. In conclusion, I think this is a playoff team and some exciting years are ahead for our Sabres. Please let me know if you see any errors and agree/disagree with any of my moves. I would love to hear everyone else’s opinions or moves they may make. I think I achieved the major goals of the Sabres offseason and look forward to the road ahead. Thanks to the staff for keeping the website up and the editor who has to read through these articles. Also shoutout to the other posters on this site I definitely used some of your articles as inspirations.