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Archive for June, 2011terms

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Sabres Select West Seneca Native Alex Lepkowski

With the 137th selection in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft the Buffalo Sabres picked defense man West Seneca native Alex Lepkowski. Lepkowski is a 6’4″ 210 pound physical defense man.

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Sabres Select Colin Jacobs in the 4th Round

With the 107th pick the Buffalo Sabres selected right shooting center Colin Jacobs. Jacobs is a native of Dallas Texas and ironically is a product of a hockey community that got its start from the Stars’ Cup win over the Sabres in 1999. Jacobs is a power forward with good size (6’1″, 197 pounds), good snarl (he doesn’t shy from fighting), has a good shot from the point and is used often on the power play.

“He gets better every game out. He pays attention to the defensive side at both ends of the rink. He helps out down low. He’s learning to use his size much better and has good positioning. He’s playing on a low-scoring
team, but he’s getting more effective offensive instincts each game. He’s always around the puck, plays well in traffic and the corners. He’s strong on the puck.” – B.J. MacDonald, NHL Central Scouting

“Jacobs is a gutsy, two-way player that will do whatever it takes to make his team more competitive and win games. … He isn’t the fastest but he is often the hardest working and he knows how to translate that into success. He often knows exactly where to be to get the puck and when he does have the puck he is confident and possesses some raw but adequate puck skills. He isn’t afraid to drive the difficult areas of the ice to make a play. He projects as a defensive checking-line player but does have some goal scoring potential that has yet to be truly developed.” International Scouting Services 2011 Draft Guide

“Has a good mixture of size, some skill, a rough and tumble style. Strong skater with a powerful stride. Likes to mix it up and hestiate to drop the gloves. Texas native is very immature from a hockey perspective, but beginning to gain better perspective of the game. At his best when given a clearly defined role. … Hard worker and diligent about rounding out his game.” – Red Line Report 2011 Draft Guide

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Sabres Select Daniel Catenacci in 3rd round

The Buffalo Sabres used the 77th overall pick in the 2011 NHL draft to select left shooting center Daniel Cetanacci. Cetanacci is listed at 5’9″ and 186 pounds. He led the Sault in assists and points last season (45 and 71). He’s an extremely fast skater, he took that honor in the 2011 top prospects game. His father played for the St. Louis Blues, his brother in the OHL. Catenacci is a good all around player with good ability to create offense.

Sabres Qualify RFA’s, Looking for 2nd Round Pick

Darcy Regier confirmed last night the Sabres have extended qualifying offers to restricted free agents: Nathan Gerbe, Jhonas Enroth, Marc Gragnani, Mike Weber and Andrej Sekera.  The Buffalo News’ John Vogl posted some audio of Kevin Devine, the Sabres’ director of amateur scouting, stating he would like to pick up a second round pick (the Sabres currently do not have one).  You can list to that here.

Qualifying Offers

Players who earned less than $660,000 in the previous season must be offered 110 percent of last season’s salary. Players making up to $1 million must be offered 105 percent. Players making over $1 million must be offered 100 percent.

If the qualifying offer is not made, the player becomes an unrestricted free agent.

If the player rejects a qualifying offer, he remains a restricted free agent.

The qualifying offers will shake out to be:

Andrej Sekera $1,250,000

Jhonas Enroth $666,000

Nathan Gerbe $803,250

Mike Weber $605,000

Marc-Andre Gragnani $550,000

 

From CapGeek.com

CAPGEEK.COM CAP CALCULATOR

FORWARDS
Thomas Vanek ($7.142m) / Jason Pominville ($5.300m) / Derek Roy ($4.000m)
Drew Stafford ($4.000m) / Brad Boyes ($4.000m) / Jochen Hecht ($3.525m)
Paul Gaustad ($2.300m) / Patrick Kaleta ($0.907m) / Tyler Ennis ($0.875m)
/ Nathan Gerbe ($0.803m) / Ales Kotalik ($3.000m)

DEFENSEMEN
Jordan Leopold ($3.000m) / Shaone Morrisonn ($2.075m)
Tyler Myers ($1.300m) / Andrej Sekera ($1.250m)
Robyn Regehr ($4.020m) / Mike Weber ($0.605m)

Marc-Andre Gragnani ($.55m)

GOALTENDERS
Ryan Miller ($6.250m) / Jhonas Enroth ($0.666m)

BUYOUTS: Tim Kennedy ($0.166m)

CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)
(these totals are compiled without the bonus cushion)
SALARY CAP: $64,300,000;

CAP PAYROLL: $55,186,274; BONUSES: $425,000
CAP SPACE (19-man roster): $11,563,726

Regehr Agrees to Waive NTC According to TSN

The drama with Calgary is over. Robyn Regehr agreed to waive his NTC early this morning according to TSN.  TSN also reports Ales Kotalik will go to Buffalo with Paul Byron and Chris Butler going to Calgary. If true the deal would add roughly $7 million in salary to the Sabres’ roster (4 for Regehr, 3 for Kotalik).  Regehr will be a welcome addition but I do wonder why Kotalik is being brought back.  Kotalk is an expensive $3 million hit considering how ineffective he has been in the NHL since 2008.  He’s struggled with injuries, work ethic, the ability to produce.  Most likely the Flames wanted to shed cap space and this was the price of it.  The Sabres could do what the Flames did with Kotalk and put him in the AHL to avoid the cap hit.

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Friday’s craziness

The hangup with Robyn Regehr looks to have come to an end.  We are to assume that Regehr will be coming to Buffalo along with shoot-out champion, and former Sabre, Ales Kotalik.  Supposedly the Sabres are moving Paul Byron, Chris Butler and a second-round pick in 2012 to Calgary.

With that soap opera behind us, the Sabres and fans can now devote more attention to the draft today, as it ended up being obstructed Friday with the Regehr trade being in limbo for most of the day and evening.

When the Sabres did make their pick at #16, they took Finnish RW Joel Armia.  Armia played in Finland’s top league with Assat Pori.  He scored 18 goals and had 29 points.  Armia has good skating ability for a big kid (6’3, 195) and finds ways to make room for himself in the offensive zone.

Armia’s best quality is his shot.  He has an excellent wrist shot that finds the net.  His bread-and-butter in pro hockey, and has been up to this point, is scoring goals.  The Sabres need more offense and Armia can be a player down the road to supply that.

He’s not afraid to get into traffic when in the slot or near the net.  Definitely has an eye for scoring goals and doesn’t seem to shy away from the high traffic areas in that regard.

Looks a bit like a swift-skating Dave Andreychuk.  Armia gets some garbage goals at times, but how often have the Sabres in recent years been surrounding the opposing net, only to be possessing an uncanny inability of parking home goals?  Maybe Armia will help in that area.

Armia’s drawbacks are occasional lacks of intensity, motivation and not owning much of a sense for any form of defensive hockey.  Sounds a bit like Thomas Vanek when he was at the University of Minnesota, and was tagged a one-dimensional offensive player.

Overall, the Armia selection is a good pick.  He would have been drafted in the next 3-5 selections had the Sabres taken another player.   Buffalo should be focusing on centers today, and also their BPAs on their lists.  Sabres head scout Kevin Devine has insinuated that the team may move up to the second round today.  There’s several quality offensive players (centers) to be had in the second round.  Let’s see if Buffalo gets creative.

A Glance at the 2011-2012 Sabres Schedule

I am sure everyone has taken a look at the Upcoming Schedule for the Sabres. Here is a quick summary of what we can look forward to this season:

  • Sabres Open up the Season Overseas with a Home Game vs the Ducks in Helsinki, Finland and a Road Game vs the Kings from Berlin, Germany.
  • The Sabres will not play for almost a week when they host the Home Opener on October 14th vs the Carolina Hurricanes.
  • On November 2nd the Sabres will have a Eastern Conference Quarterfinals Rematch when they host the Philadelphia Flyers.
  • 6 Days Later the Winnipeg Jets will make their first visit to Buffalo since their move from Atlanta. The Jets will also be in Buffalo on January 7th.
  • On November 12th will be the first meeting of the Season between the Sabres and the Stanley Cup Champions Boston Bruins.
  • On Thanksgiving Eve the Stanley Cup Boston Bruins will make their first trip of the season to Buffal0.
  • On December 2nd The Detroit Red Wings will be into for the first of 2 regular season meeting between the Sabres and Wings. The Sabres will be in Detroit on January 16th.
  • The Toronto Maple Leafs and fans will invade the HSBC Arena for the first time on On December 16th. The Leafs will also be in town on January 13 and April 3rd.
  • The Sabres will start a season long 7 game road trip on January 14th with a trip to Long Island to take on the Islanders. The Trip will continue with stops in Detroit, Chicago, Winnipeg, St. Louis, New Jersey, and Montreal.
  • On February 19th the Sabres will have their only afternoon home game of the season when they host Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
  • The Sabres will go out west in late February that features trips to Anaheim, San Jose, Vancouver, and Winnipeg.
  • The Sabres will close their season with a 2 game road trips to Philadelphia and Boston.

You can access the whole Sabres schedule on Sabres.com. It is only June, but the Hockey season is right around the corner.

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Sabres Select Joel Armia at 16

The Buffalo Sabres selected Finnish right wing Joel Armia with their first round draft pick (16th overall).  Armia is 6’3″ and 18something (depending on the publication you read and believe).  He can skate, has great hands, great shot and impressed the Sabres at the WJC’s.

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Regehr Says “No” Afterall

The Fan 960 in Calagary is reporting Robyn Regehr has declined to waive his no trade clause. Speculation now that Regehr will accept a trade, even to Buffalo but wants to see if there are going to be any other offers for him. There are all sorts of rumors of the deal. Some of the more reputable sources like Mike Harrington are reporting the Sabres had Chris Butler and Paul Byron on the table for Regehr and Ales Kotalik.

Darren Dreger on TSN reported that Regehr has NOT waived his NTC.

The other rumor making the rounds at the moment is that the Sabres want to move way up in the first round tonight. Time will tell.

Update 7:46 p.m.

Toronto Sun report:

“I can’t waive unless I see options. I had no options, really, other than this deal. There was never anything other than that. It was a yes or no type thing,” said Regehr, who envisioned a dialogue and the ability to work with the Flames to find a deal that worked for both player and team.

That’s still a possibility.

“It’s a huge, important decision. I just wanted to make sure I explore as many options as possible,” said Regehr, who also didn’t rule out the Sabres in the future after having multiple discussions with GM Darcy Regier over the last few days.

“Darcy Regier has been fantastic,” Regehr said.

“We need to explore all our options. It sounds like Buffalo is great … but until we see what’s all out there, we can’t make a real good informed decision that we’re comfortable with.”

Remembering Sabres drafts

I saw two days ago that the Eric Lindros draft at the Aud took place 20 years ago.  20 yearrrrrrrrrrrrs.  Seriously, 20?  Seems like yesterday where big, fat Eric stood next to an uncomfortable looking Quebec Nordiques GM Pierre Page, and refused to put on the blue fleur-de-lis adorned jersey.  Lindros was booed by the crowd at the Aud, and for the only time in Pat Falloon’s lackluster NHL career, he received cheers from the spectators as he donned the new aqua-colored San Jose Sharks jersey.

Drafts come and go, but each leaves a memorable mark, good or bad.  Find yourself a copy of the Sabres’ “Decade of Excitement”, the first 10 years of Sabres hockey, and watch Scotty Bowman announce the sage selection of European forward Jiri Dudacek in the first round of the 1981 draft.  The video uses the Dudacek selection as an admirable jump into the 1980s.  Dudacek became the kind of fodder that Sabres fans today reserve for Artem Kryukov.

Speaking of Kryukov, who could forget Buffalo’s horrid selection of the Konkussion King in the first round of the 2000 entry draft.  Artem who?  How much beer was being downed the previous night, Messrs. Benning, Luce and Regier?  That was a darkhorse’s darkhorse pick.  Artem is still fumbling around somewhere in Russia, probably with a placard along the Trans-Siberian railway, “Will play for gruel”.

How about Pierre Turgeon?  Buffalo’s horrid 86-87 campaign allowed them to draft first overall in 1987.  Quickly, comparisons between Turgeon and Gilbert Perreault took hold in the media.  Pierre attempted to quell the excitement some by saying, “I CAN ONLY BE PIERRE, NO CANNOT BE GILBERT!!!”  Those words proved true as #77 spent a few decent years with the Sabres before being traded to the NY Islanders in the fall of 1991.

Joel Savage?  Brad May?   Barely any remembrance there.  For some reason I do remember the Sabres drafting David Cooper in the first round of the 1992 draft.  Cooper was supposed to be a big, offensive defenseman with great skills, fast skates, a hell of a shot and the next power play quarterback for Buffalo.  That didn’t exactly happen.

The Sabres kind of redeemed themselves the following few years with selections like Wayne Primeau, Jay McKee, Marty Biron and Curtis Brown.  Then there’s Erik Rasmussen.  We’ll conveniently skip that.

And let’s conveniently skip a number of years.  Let’s even go beyond the crooked lockout lottery that saw Illuminati favorite Pittsburgh get the first overall pick and draft Sidney Crosby in 2005.  Buffalo, playing the role of NHL Court Jester, settled for Marek Zagrapan… no let’s not dwell on that.

How about the awesomeness of the 2008 draft for the Sabres?  Already receiving great production from the two Tylers, Myers and Ennis… and possibly contributions from Luke Adam (if he isn’t sent packing today in a trade for Calgary’s Robyn Regehr), that’s three big components on the team in one draft.  That harkens back the days of Punch Imlach when he was assembling great talent through the first five drafts in Buffalo’s history.

The Sabres have filled the prospect pipeline quite well over the last few years.  Along with the aforementioned Tylers and Adam are Zack Kassian, Marcus Foligno, Jhonas Enroth, Drew Schiestel, Mark Pysyk, Brayden McNabb, T.J. Brennan, Corey Tropp, Kevin Sundher, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc and Paul Byron… just to name a few.  The depth is there.  Now it’s time for the Sabres to focus on offense, specifically centers.  Who will the Sabres take tonight if they keep the 16th pick?  Mark McNeill, Mark Scheifele, Sven Bartschi, Zack Phillips, Boone Jenner?  Will they consider Jamie Oleksiak?  Go off the board for Rocco Grimaldi?   Will the selection turn out to be a Tyler Myers or a David Cooper?  Time will tell.

 

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