Count me among those who think the Sabres will be on the outside looking in when the post season comes along.
However, the recent play from the Blue and Gold is certainly generating some hope. With the All-Star break just days away and the trade deadline to follow, there could be some interesting things going down at One Seymour H. Knox III Plaza. Of course we could just end up with an average player who overachieved on a bad team.
Yet, the Sabres enter the All-Star break on the heels of an 8-3-1 January and sit just four points out of a playoff spot. They are certainly digging their way out of the hole they created at the beginning of the year. Now comes the time of year when you wonder, who will be on the move?
As they currently sit in a position of need, the Sabres should be players at the deadline. They are in desperate need of a true playmaking center and could use some help on the back-end. The first order of business should be to find someone to create 5-on-5 scoring, something the team desperately lacks. It is obvious Tim Connolly isn’t the man for the job, but his salary, injury history and production level don’t make him a very attractive target for any team. I would venture a guess that the Wild, or perhaps the Flames or Blues could be interested in Connolly, but the true tradeable commodity from the forward ranks is Drew Stafford – at this point you probably can’t afford to lose him.
I have always been siting shotgun on the ‘Trade Nathan Gerbe’ bandwagon. When he was still unknown but his collegiate career showed promise, I wanted to move him. When he was showing no signs of life in the NHL, I wanted to move him. Now, as he has shown his ability to be a productive winger, I want to move him. Why not? He is from the seemingly endless ranks of quality prospects and is an expendable part of the organization. Seems to me that Paul Byron could fill his role, and that guy takes better faceoffs than Jochen Hecht.
Other commodities that the Sabres could ship out-of-town are Chris Butler, Andrej Sekera, Mark Mancari and maybe even Craig Rivet. Right now it seems the Blues and Wild need a bit more offense to key their potential playoff runs. While a team like the Capitals could still be eying a potential change on the blue line to shore up their, sometimes, porous ‘D’. Hell, they may even be looking for some new blood up front.
As for who the Sabres could get back? There aren’t a lot of proven names out there. Especially at center. If there was a way to get
Carrie Underwood Mike Fisher to Buffalo, I would be ecstatic. He isn’t a volatile offensive threat, but he would be an enormous upgrade at the pivot. Stephen Weiss would be an intriguing pick-up. However, the likelihood of two teams gunning for the playoffs to pull a trade is unrealistic.
Regardless, the Sabres current play leaves a little hope for optimism, very little hope. If the sale to Terry Pegula does go through (I’ll hit that later in the week) then maybe Darcy will be a mover and a shaker at the deadline. You know he has a lot of prospects in the cupboard to play with.