It's been a trying season for the Buffalo Sabres and come 3 pm tomorrow, the roster may be even more unrecognizable than it already is.
The Sabres have already traded captain Steve Ott and Ryan Miller to St. Louis, and they shipped Thomas Vanek to the Islanders. Still, the overhaul is likely not complete yet.
Players that could go:
- Matt Moulson: Yes, he was part of the return the Sabres received for Vanek, but his contract expires at the end of the season, and his production will generate interest from many teams around the league. There have been reports that Moulson would like to stay with Buffalo, but Ott had a similar desire, and he's in St. Louis at the moment.
- Christian Ehrhoff: His contract is friendly, especially with the salary cap expected to rise, and he's a top defenseman in the league. Buffalo's phone will be ringing for Ehrhoff. The question that remains is if the Sabres are willing to deal him, and if so, at what price?
- Tyler Myers: After suffering through a few bad seasons, Myers looks to be getting back to his Calder Trophy days. However, that could either mean Myers is someone Buffalo wants to keep around for the rebuild, or that he could be a very good asset. Rumors have swirled about Myers being traded lately, and one would have to think the return on him would be ample.
- Tyler Ennis: He's small, but gifted. He's also Buffalo's leading goal scorer. But is he someone to build around, or missing piece to another team's puzzle? Depending on Buffalo's answer, Ennis could be moved.
Players that could stay:
- Drew Stafford: As painful as it is, Stafford could remain with the Sabres after the deadline passes this season. He's still cashing in on the contract he landed after posting 30+ goals in a season, yet has been unable to replicate that sort of production since signing the contract.
- Ville Leino: Honestly, no team is going to trade for a player with Leino's contract, and zero goals on the season. He is a money pit as a player. Buffalo could buy him out at the end of the season, but that would mean the Sabres will be further from the salary cap floor. The ugly truth is, Buffalo could be stuck with Leino, who continues to rob from the organization every game he plays and doesn't produce.
- Zemgus Girgensons: He may be one of the few players the Sabres have little interest in dealing. Girgensons has shown that he can play in the NHL, and he's only 20 years old. He's physical and gifted offensively. He is a player that the Sabres can build around.
- Marcus Foligno: Like Girgensons, Foligno is another big body that has the ability to score. Ted Nolan was reported as saying that Foligno has been the leader of Buffalo's young core. Teams in a rebuilding stage don't trade players in that role, they build pieces around him to help him flourish.
Unlike last season, the trade deadline is expected to be an active one this season. Roberto Luongo has already been moved back to the Florida Panthers, putting him in Buffalo's division, while Dustin Penner will play the rest of the season in Washington. Deals are starting to fall into place, and the Sabres will likely be in the thick of things come tomorrow.
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