Jun 11, 2018
2nd Favourite Team
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<div class="quote"><div class="quote_t">Quoting: <b>Skyraider112</b></div><div>Toffs isnt the kind of player we would look for.</div></div>
100% disagree and here's why:
1. Like Skinner last year and Vesey this year, he comes on an affordable, expiring contract - meaning, if things don't work out for him and/or the team, the Sabres aren't handcuffed cap-wise beyond this season. Their cap space for 2020-21 isn't impacted.
2. Like Skinner did last summer before becoming a Sabre, Toffoli comes off a down-year in LA and in need of a change of scenery - meaning, his market value is probably lower than what it will be when he likely rebounds this season with another 20+ goal season (which he's done in 3 of his 6 NHL seasons so far).
3. Like was the case with Skinner, Toffoli is from the Toronto area so the chance to play home games in front of friends and family will not only lead to a motivated but happy player.
4. Despite his off-year in production last season, Toffoli was 1 of only 13 players in the entire league whose possession stats for generating offensive chances and for preventing scoring chances against when he was on the ice were both on the positive side of metrics. He's been over a 50% Corsi player for his entire career. He would be the defensively-responsible member to cover for Eichel and Skinner when they lapse on their coverages. Although he can play on either specialty team, the majority of his production is at 5-on-5......again, a dire need for Buffalo's roster.
5. Although he only had 13 goals last year, Toffoli took over 200 shots for the 4th time in past 5 years and drove play from the wing......which is what the Sabres would want for anyone replacing Reinhart on Eichel's line if the 1st line is to remain as potent as it was last year. How many players do the Sabres have that can come close to generating 226 shots on net (not counting those that don't get registered)?
6. Toffoli is a Cup winner with playoff experience - which we hear Botterill as recently as this week say over and over again how valuable that is for him to add in the Sabres' locker room.
7. Toffoli is durable, playing a full season 3 of the last 4 seasons.
8. You noted Ristolainen's offensive stats but the reality is that Toffoli's 251 point in 437 GP I still better than Ristolainen's 194 points in 424 GP....and it's hard to overlook the disparity of Toffoli's +80 over 6 seasons to Ristolainen's -143 over the same time span.
Finally, of all the possible scenarios for teams needing defensive help and having offensive assets to help Buffalo's needs, a trade with LA seems the most realistic. The Sabres won't find a center for the 2nd line that is available and an upgrade over Johansson, Mittelstadt or Rodrigues. Targeting young wingers like Ehlers or Rakell also seems unrealistic without an overpayment. Given that the GM of the Kings was an offensive-minded defenseman with a mean streak and physical edge during his playing days, I suspect that Ristolainen may have a rosier impression in Blake's eyes than perhaps some other GMs.
In my opinion, the case for chasing Toffoli as a trade target is a no-brainer.
A few reminders relative to Botterill's latest interview:
1. At the draft last year, when asked about O'Reilly, he said that Ryan was a part of their team and denied rumors about a trade. Two weeks later, O'Reilly was dealt to St. Louis
2. He staunchly defended Housley to the media just before the trade deadline this year....several weeks later, he fired Housley.
3. He recently told the media how they liked the versatility of Sheary, Vesey and Nylander to play either wing.......a week after his interview with the Buffalo media, Nylander was traded for Jokiharju.
Moral to the story is that just like Regier did and 99% of the GMS not named Murray or Rutherford, Botterill is never going to reveal a pending move out of fear that he loses some bargaining leverage in discussions with other teams. I listened to the WGR interview from Tuesday and it was the usual "we're fine...we're happy with things....we want to get better when there's an opportunity to do so....yada, yada"
I'm not expecting a buyout or a bunch of cap dump-type deals but I am expecting that, before opening night, a RHD will be traded and another offensive-minded forward to bolster the top 9 will be acquired. The Sabres had one of the worst offenses last year and Botterill isn't foolish enough to think that adding Vesey and Johansson and promoting Olofsson is going to solve that big of a problem. My gut feeling is that it will be a RW for Eichel's line as opposed to a 2C that are few and far between in terms of realistic targets and improvements over Mittelstadt, Johansson or Rodrigues.
<div class="quote"><div class="quote_t">Quoting: <b>rktkt66</b></div><div>Well done on all 3 trades, two of which sync with players I've been lobbying proposals on!
Only criticism I'd make is on the actual lineups.
1st line and 3rd line are logical and good fits.
On the 2nd, I have concerns. For the same reasons that everyone points to Johansson not being a good center fit ("he's played LW for most of past 3 seasons"), it applies to Reinhart and why not to move him to center. Of the two, Johansson is a better skater and defensive player so I'd rather see him be the center on that line and keep Reinhart on RW where he's flourished.
1st defense pairing makes sense to me but I don't see Krueger/Botterill putting two RHD on the 2nd pairing and then two LHD on the 3rd pairing. Whether they put Pilut-Montour / McCabe-Miller (as Yerdon's article proposed) or McCabe-Montour / Pilut-Miller (which I'd prefer, mainly to put a defensive presence in McCabe with a weaker defensive player like Montour who needs the freedom to roam), it's solvable.</div></div>
Been thinking about the proposal - still like a lot of what you're recommending. I just wonder if the Jets' swap would be possible when their holes on defense have been widely documented as lacking experience behind Bfyuglien and Morrissey. Whereas the rumored interest in Ristolainen make sense from that perspective, would they really trade their 2LW for a prospect defenseman yet to play in the NHL? The 1st rounder certainly would be a major sweetener but it's hard to find many reports that the Jets are unhappy with Ehlers......it sounds like they may almost be willing to consider dealing Laine if they can't agree on a contract.
With Scandella, I know the Coyotes have cap issues at the moment but my gut tells me that Housley's role there with the defense corps could lead to AZ asking about Scandella. It was no secret how much Housley defended and relied on Scandella last year....and there's been reports for the past year that AZ would love to get out from under Goligoski's contract as his play has plummeted for the past 2 seasons.
With Toffoli, if he were to be acquired (and I hope Botterill has him on his shopping list, given how we know Botterill places an emphasis on Cup-winners when he can add them), my guess is that he'd come in the same way as Skinner did: get used to the team and see if it's a good fit before Botterill decides if he wants to re-sign him. If Toffoli produces like Skinner did, I would think Botterill learned his lesson and would push hard to extend him sooner than the end of the season. But the aspect of Toffoli playing with Eichel as a good 2-way RW who can cover defensively and also convert on chances seems logical as does the likelihood of Toffoli rebounding in a contract year where he's playing close to home.
I know anything's possible when it comes to Benning's decisions but the Canucks have already committed to Myers and Edler as their top pairing and are going to be hard-pressed to squeeze in Boeser's new contract (probably in the $6.5M-7M range) so Ristolainen, from depth and cap situation, doesn't seem plausible. And, even if it were to happen as proposed, would Botterill really target Virtanen as a RW (which the Sabres need) only to see him on the 4th line. He'd seem as good a candidate for the top 9 as Vesey, Sheary or Olofsson.
I know fans want to see the dead wood players jettisoned but I can't believe Botterill - or even Fenton - would agree to a draft pick for Wilson AND Scandella. Maybe Scandella gets dumped somewhere for a low draft pick but at Wilson's salary and the limited depth at Rochester, I suspect the Sabres will keep Wilson and take their chances he clears waivers to start with the Amerks.
As to lineup, there is no way that Botterill would bury Okposo in the AHL - for starters, the cap savings of doing so is minimal and secondly, I think the message it would send to both the player and his teammates is one that neither Krueger or Botterill would want to mess with.
The defense corps, with additions of Staal and Juolevi don't make sense - Pilut and Bogosian are both reported, for now, to probably only miss the first 2-3 weeks of the season. Maybe Bogosian becomes the 7th D but there's no way Pilut doesn't get a top 6 spot......which then creates a numbers game when you have 7 D without either player from IR.
Believe me, I'd love it if your proposed trades would come true as adding RNH and Zucker - two guys I really like - would dramatically help in areas the Sabres need it in. However, everything I've read out of Edmonton since Holland took over is that the Oilers are fully building around RNH, McDavid and Draisaitl as their core forwards - plus, there's enough accounts from media covering the team that the Oilers may actually deal from their surplus of defenseman to add a scoring winger. So I don't see a fit anymore in them trading RNH or wanting Ristolainen.
Same story with Zucker - unfortunately. The rumors of that botched deal with Penguins and Fenton's seemingly-desperation to deal Zucker for anything, along with LeBrun's report that the Sabres were interested in him, made it seem like a plausible scenario. Unfortunately, with the free agent signings the Wild made, there are a lot of reports that Fenton has changed his mind on trading Zucker; there's also the hitch that Zucker's 10-team NTC went into effect July 1st, and we can probably assume a team like Buffalo may be on the list.
I hate to rain on the ideas because I'd love them to happen - I just think neither is realistic anymore to hope for. Still, as to the lineup, I think your projections make sense.