Once again, the Sabres will be sellers at the deadline. While they aren’t overflowing with pending UFAs or highly sought after talent, there will be a few faces missing from Buffalo’s lineup after Monday.
It’s hard to say exactly how many of Buffalo’s trade chips will find their way out the door, but I’ll be surprised if Kevyn Adams doesn’t make at least one or two moves. The Sabres have nine unrestricted free agents who could arguably be available via trade. But the more realistic number is five, maybe six players who are truly available. That list includes Craig Anderson, Cody Eakin, Robert Hagg, Vinny Hinostroza, Colin Miller and possibly Will Butcher. That doesn’t mean all of those players will be on the move, but they each have a profile of a deadline rental.
Players with term or RFA status could also be shipped out, but aside from some whispers about Victor Olofsson’s availability, it doesn’t sound like there would be any imminent moves from the non-UFAs on Buffalo’s roster.
What’s interesting is that while Adams could easily trade away five players on Monday, Buffalo’s roster might not look all that different. The injury bug that ran through Buffalo’s roster shifted the lineup to the point that the Sabres are only now sending players back to Rochester, with Mark Jankowski returned on Wednesday. So, while Hagg and Miller could both gone on Monday, Hagg is the only one of the two with a roster spot that would need to be filled. With Anders Bjork a healthy scratch and Zemgus Girgensons ready to return, the same could be said of Cody Eakin and Vinny Hinostroza.
I think the initial reaction to the Sabres potentially shipping out three or more players would mean a distinct impact to their competitiveness. But things might look pretty similar to how they look now. Right now, the Sabres are +200 underdogs against the Oilers at Betway. Not the greatest odds, but I don’t think you’ll be seeing much longer odds for the club once their work at the deadline is complete.
With less than a week to go to the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline, one of the most common talking points has been how the lack of salary cap space has kept early negotiations to a minimum.
The Sabres head to the deadline with a handful of pending UFAs who will make decent bargain rentals for contending teams. But the real value Buffalo has at the deadline is their salary cap space.
As of this writing, CapFriendly shows the Sabres with over $55 million in space, the most in the NHL by $10 million. CapFriendly projects them to end the year with $13 million in space. That puts the Sabres in a perfect position to leverage that cap space to acquire useful assets at the deadline, something that Kevyn Adams recently said he hopes to do.
Buffalo isn’t the only team with space to broker a deal and the rumor mill doesn’t indicate that Monday will chock full of deals. Taking advantage of their cap space may be easier said than done, but there should be at least a handful of big contracts moving which would allow the Sabres to serve as a broker.
After honoring the Sabres’ bye week we are back in action with some post All Star fun. We run down Peter Chiarelli’s firing in Edmonton and Toronto’s acquisition of Jake Muzzin. We also use the Muzzin acquisition as a way to reflect on Buffalo’s current status ahead of the trade deadline. In the theme of the last few episodes, we determine the tough decisions Jason Botterill will need to make regarding not only trade targets but the price he wants to pay to upgrade this roster.
You can listen to The Instigator Podcast on most podcast streaming services, including large providers such as iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio and TuneIn and most other third-party podcast streaming apps. You can find links to subscribe and rate the show below:
Chris and Tyler look ahead to Monday’s deadline and the players the Sabres will likely move on from. We also visit a few potential targets Tim Murray might consider as he continues to re-shape the roster.
Los Angeles sent defenseman Jack Johnson and a conditional first-round pick to Columbus in exchange for the disgruntled center. Plenty of people in Sabres nation are likely wondering why Darcy Regier failed to acquire Carter. I say, who cares?
The most obvious issue regarding Carter’s trade is the fact that he is moving on to his third team in less than a year. There were the reports of locker room issues in Philly, there was the Dry Island debacle and now it seems his cancer spread to the locker room in Columbus as well. Additional reports of being less than pleased with his move to Ohio’s capital were floating around as well. How many of these reports are true? There is no way to be sure. But if even half of that information is true, placing him in “the worst city in the NHL” probably wouldn’t do much to pick up his spirits.
What is the true reason the Sabres weren’t involved in this sweepstakes is the simple fact that they didn’t have the pieces to send to the Kings. Buffalo’s first round pick this year is going to be in the top-10. A top-10, potential lottery pick is not the type of asset you move in a trade like this. Like it or not, Jeff Carter is not Rick Nash. In addition, there is no player on the Buffalo roster with the equivalent value to Jack Johnson. Jordan Leopold and Andrej Sekera play a similar role, but only Sekera would be close in regards to Johnson’s overall value. Tyler Myers is far superior to Johnson in a two-way role. The only way you’re seeing Myers moved is for an elite talent (see: Getzlaf, Ryan). Continue reading →
The fifth edition of The Instigator Podcast is in the can. This week Eric (or 3rd Man In) and took on the trade deadline, what could happen around the league and which Sabres may be picked up by next Monday. Have a listen:
Episode number three of The Instigator takes a look at where the Sabres may be heading as they work towards the trade deadline. This episode also introduces fan Twitter questions in addition to a new segment called “Plus/Minus”.
As always, comments and criticism are welcome and encouraged. You can find me at @2ITB_Buffalo and Eric at @3rdmanin. Don’t forget to check out Eric’s work on 3rd Man In as well.