The Sabres Observer
If that small, morally superior legion of Sabres fans and media thumbing their noses at the "Dishonor For Connor" and "Win Jack for Jack" movements is still out there this morning, my advice is to lay low and keep quiet for a few days.
Jack Eichel was a cut above every other player on the ice in the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game last night in Buffalo, notching a goal and an assist and taking home game MVP honors.
Meanwhile, the Big Day featuring he and fellow wunderkind Connor McDavid is nine months from today in Florida.
If the prediction of one major media outlet is true, the Sabres will have only one player with more than 50 points this season.
TSN has released its 2014-15 Top 300 Projected Scorers list, and Matt Moulson tops all Sabres with 27 goals and 63 points. That ranks him 33rd and much better than the next highest rated Sabre, Tyler Ennis (20 goals, 49 points) at 96th.
I know it was only a prospect scrimmage that's not to be overanalyzed, but at least allow me to say that I didn't get the warm fuzzy feeling that most of the other whopping 8,725 or so fans in attendance did.
Tim Murray watched the festivities from the 5th row in section 216. I'd love to know what he was thinking. I'm going to venture a guess.
From an offensive display standpoint, it had to have left him wanting more.
From Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
Based on where the Sabres sit in the standings, they are looking up, way up. But so are their prospects for success. And the best part of it for a guy like Murray, who has made a living on identifying young talent, is that the canvas is relatively blank. After they bought out Ville Leino and Christian Ehrhoff this summer, the only big-money, long-term contracts that remain on the books belong to Cody Hodgson, Tyler Myers and Matt Moulson. They have a very good stable of young prospects – defensemen Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov were both rated among the top 10 NHL prospects in Future Watch 2014 and center Mikhail Grigorenko made the top 50 – and at the trade deadline they picked up a rising prospect in Hudson Fasching. They have an owner who has been willing to spend, but that has been more of a curse than a blessing in Buffalo of late.
Patrick Roy and Joe Sakic have known Claude Lemieux's son Brendan since he sat in the Stanley Cup as a three-month-old baby in 1996. Brendan's dad remains good friends with Roy and Sakic to this day.
Lemieux (left wing with 27 goals, 26 assists and 53 points for the OHL's Barrie Colts last season) had made it clear Colorado was his first choice, and it seemed like a great fit.
So why did the Avalanche not take the 6'1" 209 lb. truculent forward at number 23, even though many had him rated as a first-round talent in this year's draft?
The answer is Conner Bleackley.
This morning on Buffalo radio, Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press referred to Tyler Myers as a franchise defenseman with "a really appealing contract."
Those of you outside of Sabres Nation may not realize how many Buffalo fans had a good chuckle when they heard that one.
This is the same defenseman who has needed to spend occasional games in the press box to clear his head. And that's the same contract that was unappealing enough to some to put Myers on the list of compliance buyout candidates.
Tim Murray has put the Sabres hockey community on notice that he isn't messing around. Turning over a quarter of your roster in one day will usually do that.
The Buffalo GM added Brian Gionta and Andrej Meszaros, brought back Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick, and traded a future draft pick for Josh Gorges. He also signed restricted free agent Marcus Foligno, hefty raise and all.
Two things really stood out after all of these moves yesterday, and both are reasons for Sabres fans to get excited about what's ahead for this franchise.
After initially jumping out of my chair reading Bob McKenzie's alert on the Christian Ehrhoff buyout, it started making a bit more sense after playing around with Capgeek's recapture calculator.
There are a few scenarios where the cap recapture penalty could really hurt the Sabres down the road when they're hoping to be a contending team looking to keep up with the league's big spenders.
While most of tonight's focus for Sabres fans will be on Buffalo's likely selection of Sam Reinhart with the second overall pick, there will be a whole lot more going on as GM Tim Murray attempts to really start putting his imprint on this underskilled roster.
One thing that's certain is that Murray is pushing hard for trades that bring in other teams' unwanted overpaid players along with picks and/or prospects.
It makes the most sense to leverage every dollar possible to acquire long-term assets. Don't give anything up that will only make you better this season.
Put another way, Murray needs to treat tonight, and this entire summer for that matter, like a last-place team on trade deadline day.
From Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News,
According to some of my sources, the heavy hitters would be Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, with the three teams being linked to the NHL franchises in those cities. All three would lie outside the USHL’s current eastern border, however. And though a division including those three cities, Youngstown (Ohio) and Team USA or Muskegon (both Michigan) would make sense geographically, travel is not the only consideration.
“I want to be very careful in pursuing expansion,” Fallen said. “The key to me is dilution of talent. Not only in the players, but coaches and officials as well.”
About The Sabres Observer
Dave Davis has covered the Buffalo Sabres for various NHL accredited websites and newspapers since 2003. He was the senior writer and Sabres correspondent for The Fourth Period, covered hockey for Western New York Sports and Leisure Magazine, and has had articles featured on NHL.com, FOX Sports, Yahoo Sports and in New York Sportscene. Sabres news and notes can be found on his Twitter page.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: [@DaveDavisHockey]