Tag: Zach Bogosian

Zach Bogosian, Boone Jenner

Sabres’ biggest question: Defense


As much as the Buffalo Sabres have improved lately, it still seems like they’re going to struggle on defense.

Honestly, there are strong odds that they’ll struggle a lot.

You can trot out the simplest stats (Buffalo allowed a league-worst shots on goal average of 35.6 per game, two more than second-worst Toronto) or go a little deeper (the Sabres’ Fenwick Close was downright ghastly), but the bottom line is that Buffalo was atrocious on D. Their offensive firepower was meek in 2014-15, yet the Sabres’ work in their own end was the leading reason people described them as “historically inept.”

Just look at the dregs of NHL.com’s “SAT” stat and you’ll see just how much worse Buffalo was than the rest of the worst:

26. Columbus: -365
27. Toronto: -515
28. Calgary: -839
29. Colorado: -984
30. Buffalo: -1,789


GM Tim Murray made this team better in many ways – and certain facets should benefit Buffalo defensively – but the personnel is still lacking.

Even if Dan Byslma’s a big difference-maker, it’s difficult to imagine him working many miracles with some combination of Rasmus Ristolainen, Zach Bogosian (pictured), Josh Gorges, Mike Weber, Matt Donovan, Mark Pysyk, Jake McCabe and Carlo Colaiacovo.

(Seriously, take a step back and ponder that group for a moment.)

Look, players like Ristolainen could very well make significant strides in 2015-16. Buffalo is also likely to enjoy better two-way play from its forward group, as Ryan O’Reilly and David Legwand both possess some defensive chops. Again, Byslma’s systems could at least drag the Sabres closer to respectability, as well.

If you dial down the optimism to more reasonable levels, the Sabres are likely to put a ton of pressure on Robin Lehner and Chad Johnson next season, as that defense stands as a work in progress … at best.

Sabres lock up O’Reilly through 2022-23

Nashville Predators v Colorado Avalanche

Ryan O’Reilly won’t have to engage in another contract negotiation for a while. The Buffalo Sabres have given him a seven-year extension, locking the 24-year-old forward up through 2022-23.

O’Reilly’s cap hit next season will be $6 million, per the two-year contract he signed with Colorado last summer. For the next seven seasons after that, it’ll be $7.5 million, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

It was the failure of O’Reilly and the Avalanche to agree on a long-term deal that led to him being traded to Buffalo last week. He’d reportedly asked Colorado for an eight-year, $64 million contract. Ultimately, that was too rich for the Avs, who felt they had no choice but to trade him.

In Buffalo, O’Reilly will be the Sabres’ highest-paid player. Evander Kane’s cap hit is $5.25 million, Zach Bogosian’s is $5.14 million, Matt Moulson’s is $5 million, and Tyler Ennis’s is $4.6 million.

O’Reilly’s contract is also structured in a way (see: David Clarkson’s deal) that makes it difficult to be bought out:

Related: Jack Eichel signs entry-level deal with Sabres

Sabres cash in their suffering, take Eichel second overall

Jack Eichel

SUNRISE — One of the worst seasons in NHL history paid off today for the Buffalo Sabres.

With the second overall pick in the 2015 draft, the Sabres selected forward Jack Eichel, the Boston University phenom that NHL Central Scouting ranked No. 2 among North American skaters. He was ranked behind only Connor McDavid, who went to the Oilers first overall.

Eichel enters the NHL with great expectations. He’s been called a franchise player, even garnering the “generational” label, along with McDavid.

The Sabres finished the 2014-15 season with a 23-51-8 record. Their 54 points were the fewest in the league, two fewer than Arizona managed. They had the worst offense, the worst power play, the worst penalty kill, and the second-worst goals-against average. They were accused of tanking. Often.

Now it’s time to start the ascension. With Eichel, Sam Reinhart, Evander Kane, Ryan O’Reilly, Zach Bogosian, Rasmus Ristolainen, and Robin Lehner, Sabres fans may not have to suffer much longer.

Related: Get to know a draft pick — Jack Eichel

PHT’s 2015 NHL Trade Deadline Tracker

Buffalo Sabres v New York Rangers

Our running list of all the deals leading up to 3 p.m. ET on Monday, Mar. 2…

Monday, Mar. 2

To Boston: Zack Phillips
To Minnesota: Jared Knight

To Anaheim: Korbinian Holzer
To Toronto: Eric Brewer, 5th-round pick (’15) (link)

To Anaheim: James Wisniewski, 3rd-round pick (’15)
To Columbus: William Karlsson, Rene Bourque and 2nd-round pick (’15) (link)

To Boston: Max Talbot, Paul Carey
To Colorado: Jordan Caron, 6th-round pick (’16) (link)

To Vancouver: Sven Baertschi
To Calgary: 2nd-round pick (’15) (link)

To Anaheim: Simon Despres
To Pittsburgh: Ben Lovejoy (link)

To St. Louis: Olli Jokinen
To Toronto: Joakim Lindstrom, 6th-round pick (conditional, ’15) (link)

To Minnesota: Chris Stewart
To Buffalo: 2nd-round pick (’17) (link)

To Montreal: Torrey Mitchell
To Buffalo: Jack Nevins, 7th-round pick (’16) (link)

To Arizona Coyotes: David Leggio
To New York Islanders: Mark Louis (link)

To Minnesota: Jordan Leopold
To Columbus: Justin Falk, 5th-round pick (’15) (link)

To Vancouver: Cory Conacher
To New York Islanders: Dustin Jeffrey (link)

To St. Louis: Roberto Bortuzzo, 7th-round pick (’16)
To Pittsburgh: Ian Cole (link)

To San Jose: Karl Stollery
To Colorado: Freddie Hamilton (link)

To New York Islanders: Michal Neuvirth
To Buffal Sabres: Chad Johnson, 3rd-round pick (’16) (link)

To New York Islanders: Tyler Kennedy
To San Jose Sharks: 3rd-round pick (conditional, ’16) (link)

To Detroit: Marek Zidlicky
To New Jersey: 3rd-round pick (conditional, ’16) (link)

To San Jose: Ben Smith, 7th round pick (’17, conditional)
To Chicago: Andrew Desjardins (link)

To St. Louis: Zbynek Michalek, 3rd-round pick (conditional, ’15)
To Arizona: Maxim Letunov (link)

To Montreal: Brian Flynn
To Buffalo: 5th-round pick (’16) (link)

To Montreal: Jeff Petry
To Edmonton: 2nd-round pick (’15), 5th-round pick (conditional, ’15) (link)

To Tampa Bay: Braydon Coburn
To Philly: Radko Gudas, 1st-round pick (’15), 3rd-round pick (’15) (link)

To Boston: Brett Connolly
To Tampa Bay: 2nd-round pick (’15), 2nd round-pick (’16) (link)

Sunday, Mar. 1

To Detroit: Erik Cole, 3rd-round pick (conditional, ’15)
To Dallas: Mattias Janmark, Mattias Backman, 2nd-round pick (’15) (link)

To New York Rangers: James Sheppard
To San Jose: 4th-round pick (’16) (link)

To Winnipeg: Lee Stempniak
To New York Rangers: Carl Klingberg (link)

To New York Rangers: Keith Yandle, Chris Summers, 4th-round pick (’15)
To Arizona: John Moore, Anthony Duclair, 1st-round pick (conditional, ’16), 2nd-round pick (’15) (link)

To Washington: Curtis Glencross
To Calgary: 2nd-round pick (’15), 3rd-round pick (’15) (link)

Saturday, Feb. 28

To Chicago: Antoine Vermette
To Arizona: Klas Dahlbeck, 1st-round pick (’15) (link)

To Anaheim: Tomas Fleischmann
To Florida: Dany Heatley, 3rd-round pick (’15) (link)

To Washington: Tim Gleason
To Carolina: Jack Hillen, 4th-round pick (’15) (link)

Friday, Feb. 27

To Chicago: Kimmo Timonen
To Philly: 2nd-round pick (’15), 4th-round pick (conditional, ’16) (link)

Thursday, Feb. 26

To Columbus: David Clarkson
To Toronto: Nathan Horton (link)

To Florida: Jaromir Jagr
To New Jersey: 2nd-round pick (’15), 3rd-round pick (’16) (link)

To Toronto: T.J. Brennan
To Chicago: Spencer Abbott (link)

To St. Louis: Adam Cracknell
To Columbus: Future considerations (link)

Wednesday, Feb. 25

To Los Angeles: Andrej Sekera
To Carolina: Roland McKeown, 1st-round pick (conditional, ’15 or ’16) (link)

To Pittsburgh: Daniel Winnik
To Toronto: Zach Sill, 2nd-round pick (’16), 4th-round pick (’15) (link)

To Winnipeg: Jiri Tlusty
To Carolina: 3rd-round pick (’16), 6th-round pick (conditional, ’15) (link)

Tuesday, Feb. 24

To Minnesota: Sean Bergenheim, 7th-round pick (’16)
To Florida: 3rd-round pick (’16) (link)

To Anaheim: Jiri Sekac
To Montreal: Devante-Smith Pelly (link)

Sunday, Feb. 15

To Nashville: Cody Franson, Mike Santorelli
To Toronto: Olli Jokinen, Brendan Leipsic, 1st-round pick (’15) (link)

Wednesday, Feb. 11

To Dallas: Jhonas Enroth
To Buffalo: Anders Lindback, 3rd-round pick (conditional, ’16) (link)

To Buffalo: Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian, Jason Kasdorf
To Winnipeg: Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, Joel Armia, Brendan Lemieux, 1st-round pick (’15) (link)

‘It’s not my cup of tea, this rental world,’ says Ducks GM

Bob Murray

Bob Murray sounds like a guy that was pleased to see Blockbuster go under.

Following Tuesday’s “hockey deal” — the Ducks sent Devante Smith-Pelly to Montreal in exchange for Jiri Sekac — the Anaheim GM voiced his displeasure with the current state of the trade market.

“There’s a lot of talking going on, but it’s all about rentals, for Pete’s sake,” Murray said, per the Los Angeles Times. “It’s gone from a third-round pick for a rental, someone you might have for three months; now it’s a second- or first-rounder and a prospect.”

While Murray’s candor is enjoyable (more so if you envision him shaking his fist at the trade deadline), there’s definitely some posturing at play. For starters, the rental market hasn’t proven to be that expensive yet — on Tuesday, Minnesota acquired a pretty useful forward in Sean Bergenheim from Florida for a third-round pick — and, less than two weeks ago, Winnipeg and Buffalo combined to orchestrate one of the biggest blockbusters in recent memory where most of the principles (Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian, Tyler Myers) were building blocks, not rentals.

(You can also circle back to the Smith-Pelly-for-Sekac trade that Murray completed, which was a true “hockey deal.”)

Of course, we’ve seen comments like these from Murray and GMs before, and they do occasionally prove to be somewhat effective. By bemoaning not just the quality of rental players, but also the asking price, the GM gives himself an out in the event he can’t make anything significant happen at the deadline (which is usually followed by something along the lines of “we weren’t going to mortgage the future.”)

It’s also worth remembering that Murray has history of posturing. After failing to land a big ticket at last year’s deadline (while picking up a cheap rental in Stephane Robidas, it should be mentioned), he expressed confusion and dismay about not getting a deal done despite having a pair of high draft picks in play — the old “I was ready to make a deal, they weren’t” narrative.

Anyway, back to the present. In light of this rentals-only market, Murray could end up having to wait ’til the offseason to make a big move, much like last year with the Ryan Kesler acquisition at the draft. The Ducks are clamoring for defensive help but it sure doesn’t look like there’s a ton available heading into Monday’s deadline — and, posturing or not, Murray sure doesn’t sound enamored with the idea of paying big for a rental.

“I’m not doing that here,” he explained. “It’s not my cup of tea, this rental world.”