2011 Sabres Draft: Not a Mock, but a Cheat Sheet

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2011NHLDraft 2011 Sabres Draft: Not a Mock, but a Cheat Sheet

The Next Ones.

WHEN: June 24th – 25th

WHERE: The Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, Minnesota

BAR TRIVIA: This marks the first time the draft has been in Minnesota since the North Stars hosted the draft in 1989.  The Sabres have selected defensemen with their first pick in 4 of the last 5 drafts: Dennis Persson (2006 24th overall), TJ Brennan (2007 31st overall – 2nd round), Tyler Myers (2008 12th overall), and Mark Pysyk (2010 23rd overall).

(more…)

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Hypothetical NHL Namesake Tournament

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What if NHL team namesakes actually played each other? By this I mean the representative logos or team names. For instance, could a coyote defeat a Bruin? How about a hurricane versus a devil?  What the hell is a flyer and how would would it fare? We thought it might be fun to do hypothetical playoff NCAA bracket-style tournament to determine the overall winner of such a contest. What say you?

All it takes is your vote, and perhaps comments on how a match might go down.

Since the NHL has 30 teams that means 15 matchups, which is uneven for an East vs. West breakdown. So we seeded teams by their 2010-2011 regular season record with the bottom 2 teams playing each other. The winner of this “toilet bowl” goes on to their respective conference. (more…)

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Boston/Tampa Bay Game 7 BINGO!

It’s time for someone to punch their ticket to the Stanley Cup Finals.

And it’s time for fans to get their dabbers out, as Sabres BINGO! returns for Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.  It sure sucks that the Sabres are out of it, but we can all at least have fun at Claude Julien’s chins’ expense.

Or is it “Claude Julien Chins’?”  Nevermind.

As always, click on the pic for a full size picture.  Oh, and keep an eye out for a special Scarface reference!

Enjoy.

BOSTBGame7BINGO 300x216 Boston/Tampa Bay Game 7 BINGO!buffalosabresnation.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/BOSTBGame7BINGO.jpg 837w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" />

Quite possibly the most impossible to win BINGO! card yet.

Go Sabres.

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Quick Hits: 2011 NHL RFA Compensation

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A lot of Sabres fans would love to poach RFA Shea Weber from the Nashville Predators.

Let’s face it: any offer sheet tendered towards Weber would be immediately matched by Nashville.  Still, due to this year’s relatively weak UFA class, NHL GM’s may very well make more RFA offers than expected.

Here’s a look at what it will cost to yank an RFA off another team’s roster this season (via The Sporting News):

An offer with a $1,034,249 annual cap hit or less: No compensation

More than $1,034,249 — $1,567,043: Third-round pick

More than $1,567,043 — $3,134,088: Second-round pick

More than $3,134,088 — $4,701,131: First and third-round pick

More than $4,701,131 — $6,268,175: First, second and third-round pick

More than $6,268,175 — $7,835,219: Two first-round picks, a second and third

More than $7,835,219 and higher: Four first-round picks

Still interested in Weber?  I didn’t think so.  How about Zach Parise instead?

parise Quick Hits: 2011 NHL RFA Compensationbuffalosabresnation.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/parise-300x168.jpg 300w" sizes="(max-width: 461px) 100vw, 461px" />

The Devil's in the details...

Should be an interesting July 1st.

Go Sabres.

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Target: Brad Richards

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Someone is going to pay dearly.

They don’t call the beginning of free agency on July 1st a “frenzy” for nothin’.  Teams desperate to gain an advantage over their competition have resorted to extraordinary leaps of faith on aging players, offering staggering amounts of money and long-term deals to the hottest available names.  (See: Chris Drury.)

This year’s big name on the UFA market is the Dallas Stars’ Brad Richards, but is he worth an inflated investment?  Here’s a look at his stats over the years:

BRStats Target: Brad Richardsbuffalosabresnation.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/BRStats-300x157.jpg 300w" sizes="(max-width: 516px) 100vw, 516px" />

And a Stanley Cup in 2004!

The stats (aside from the dodgy plus/minus ratio) are very impressive, but is he really worth the $7-8 million/season that he will likely be offered at the frenzy?  How would he fit into Pegula’s 3 year Stanley Cup plan?

Well, hold those thoughts right there.  According to some in the media, there won’t be a sweepstakes on this guy.  This year, maybe money isn’t enough to snag the best UFA’s: it looks as if the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs could trade for the rights to negotiate with Richards before July 1st, giving up first assets and then cap space to earn his cap hit.

From Larry Brooks, of the New York Post:

It’s important for the Rangers to acquire Richards, as estimable a pro as there is in the league and a player who makes his teammates better, but it is equally important for the team not to make a mistake on the contract.

It’s equally important the Rangers know all there is to know about Richards’ health in the aftermath of the concussion he sustained on Feb. 13 that sidelined him for nearly a month before the center returned for the final 16 games of the season.

We’d suggest Sather offer Nieuwendyk the 57th-overall selection for the rights to Richards, for the right to get a head start on 2011-12, for the right to avoid the rush-hour frenzy of July 1. For the right reason.

A 2nd round pick is a lot to give up just to gain the rights to negotiate with a guy and examine his head, but crazier things have happened this time of the year.

Damien Cox of The Toronto Star wrote on the Maple Leafs’ odds to land Richards, pre-frenzy:

…the real challenge for the Leafs is that Richards may not get to July 1st. Before the March trade deadline, Dallas GM Joe Nieuwendyk was asking prospects and picks in exchange for Richards and the right to talk about a new contract with the veteran centre.

In theory, the Leafs could get in on trying to buy the rights to negotiate with Richards, but not if it costs them a top prospect like Nazem Kadri. They just don’t have enough in the cupboard to start giving those up, particularly without a deal in place for Richards. That’s not even considering getting team doctors to have a look at him, something clubs may want to do because of the serious concussion Richards had this season.

Clearly, Burke’s preference would be to wait until July 1st. But he knows Philly landed Scott Hartnell and Kimmo Timmonen a couple of years ago from Nashville in this way and benefitted from that aggressive move, and he also knows the market for No. 1 centres via trade or free agency looks mighty slim this summer.

Both writers cite the Los Angeles Kings as the other club legitimately in the running to land Richards.  Musings over the Sabres as a possible destination are nowhere to be found, save on Buffalo Sabres message boards and hopeful fan tweets.

There is no doubt that the Sabres would love to add a legitimate #1 center to the roster – but giving up a 2nd round pick or any other assets to do so is insane.  That is not how to move a franchise forward, it’s how you set it back.

ShowMeTheMoney Target: Brad Richardsbuffalosabresnation.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/ShowMeTheMoney-300x199.jpg 300w" sizes="(max-width: 350px) 100vw, 350px" />

Richards holds the record for game-winning goals in a single playoff season with seven in 2004, overtaking Joe Sakic's and Joe Nieuwendyk's record of six.

The Sabres have said that one of their main priorities right now is developing their defense, and creating a true shutdown pair again.  If they’re smart, they’ll stick with that plan – there are plenty of top defensive names on the market after all.

Let’s not forget that Buffalo is already dealing with the contract of Drew Stafford, who is due a hefty raise after this year’s breakout performance – and Stafford is just one name on that big ol’ list of RFA’s that Regier and Co. is working on fitting under the cap.  Next year, Buffalo will need the room to resign Tyler Myers and Tyler Ennis as their contracts expire and put them in the RFA market.

It’s one thing to sacrifice an asset or two just to land the rights for Richards – it’s another thing to pay for an inflated contract that could cost you the leverage to sign the new stars on your team.  Like I said, Richards impact on a new team could be one that actually sets it back.

If the Leafs or Rangers are willing to do that, well then, let ’em go for it.  After all, a weaker team in Toronto or New York only helps the Sabres over the next 3 seasons.

Fans should try to remember all of this as the frenzy approaches.  Don’t be disappointed if Richards isn’t in Blue and Gold next season, folks – don’t trumpet your horns that Regier can’t land the big names.

The big names are already on the team, and we need to keep it that way.

Go Sabres.

See also: “Target: Brent Burns

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