For those expecting to see a fire sale along Perry Street, don’t hold your breath. However, the market for Sabres rumored to be on the block continues to rise – thanks to the fine work of a few general managers from around the NHL.
In recent weeks players who have been at the center of trade rumors have been given new contracts, all but eliminating them from trade talks. Tim Gleason, Vinny Prospal and Andy Sutton are recent signees who were expected to be commodities on February 27. This development, along with the potential of Tuomo Ruutu being signed, has only good results for the Sabres.
There are a few names of Buffalo Sabres that have been floating around the different rumor mills for some time. Brad Boyes, Derek Roy and Paul Gaustad all seem to have some interest from around the league. Drew Stafford’s name is also out there but it seems as if he is someone who is being focused on more from a local standpoint.
When considering the players who may be moved, keep in mind where you’re hearing the reports from and the specific player who is being referred to. For example, there are a whole lot of fans who want to see Stafford, Roy and Boyes shipped out. Some of these people would even trade Ryan Miller, for whatever reason (hockey IQ). However, hearing your friends talk about moving a player isn’t the same as hearing reputable sources say certain scouts and teams are discussing a particular player.
What you can put in the bank is the fact that the assumed market for the players that are said to be on the block has been rising in recent weeks. Paul Gaustad’s recent play has shown the two-way game that many teams covet. In addition, the thinning of the scoring winger market means that more teams may be willing to jump at the chance for Brad Boyes or Drew Stafford. If you’re on the “Trade Stafford” bandwagon, hope to god Jim Rutherford reaches an agreement with Ruutu this week.
If Ruutu and Prospal are off the market it leaves a very thin depth chart of pending UFAs to pick from. It also thins the number of potential trade pieces from teams well out of the playoff race. Despite rumors surrounding Buffalo being fairly quiet, the fact that these signings are occurring will only help Darcy Regier move the players he wishes to part ways with.
As of right now the asking price for Ruutu is alleged to be astronomical. I don’t necessarily think that it makes much sense to ask for a ridiculous return, but Sabres fans should be praying for him to re-sign in Carolina. I don’t think that his market value would translate to the players on Buffalo’s roster that teams would be targeting. However, if he re-signs, I do know that interest in the players on Buffalo’s block will skyrocket. UPDATE: Ruutu was taken out of tonight’s game with an upper-body injury. I can’t speculate length without any additional information. But if he was to be shelved beyond the deadline, it has the same effect as if he were to re-sign.
Consider this hypothetical for a moment: Drew Stafford had been tossed around rather casually for some time as a solution for a team searching for offense. Perhaps his original value was a second-round pick and a prospect, but interest was weak. With Prospal and Ruutu off the market his value likely remains but the interest now skyrockets. With increased interest, there is the opportunity to ask for a better return.
The same goes for Boyes, Gaustad and the rest of the players who are potentially on the block. When a team appears to be approaching the “sell to retool” phase, having a high demand for product is a very good thing. The only question that remains is; will Regier pull the trigger on these deals?