The Buffalo Sabres are in a very good position as the NHL’s most likely seller as the trade deadline approaches. Let’s look at the most recent Sabres rumors.
With the start of 2018, NHL teams are starting to figure out if they should be sellers or buyers as the trade deadline approaches. No team has an easier decision than the Buffalo Sabres. They are at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings with a 10-20-9 record. In a market where there could be more buyers than sellers, this puts them in a very good position. As the deadline approaches, Sabres rumors will be aplenty.
Craig Custance of The Athletic is reporting the Sabres are fielding trade calls on multiple players.
"Evander Kane is the big piece Sabres GM Jason Botterill is getting calls on already and for good reason… Teams are also calling on Benoit Pouliot, Johan Larsson and Jacob Josefson."
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Kane, Pouliot, and Josefson are each unrestricted free agents at the end of this season. This makes them the most likely to be traded. Other pending free agents likely to be traded include backup goaltender Chad Johnson and center Jordan Nolan.
While the goalie market is never easy to predict, the Sabres are an injury away from a team needing to shore up their goaltending. So expect Johnson to be traded. Nolan’s five points in 37 games aren’t appealing, but contending teams become hoarders of forward depth as the playoffs approach, so a trade isn’t out of the question.
Larsson has just six points with a career-high of 17, so his extra year of team control doesn’t do much for his trade value. He will be a restricted free agent after the 2018-19 season. Goaltender Robin Lehner is another upcoming RFA, but given the Sabres’ questionable future in net, he’s more likely to be kept.
Kane is the crown jewel of the selling Sabres. He’s playing extremely well and could provide teams with a scoring punch down the stretch. It’s not unreasonable to expect Buffalo to get a similar package for Kane as the one the Arizona Coyotes got for Martin Hanzal.
Pouliot is an intriguing depth scoring option. He’s proven to be a very capable player in a third or skilled fourth line role. Pouliot has 11 points in 37 games, though his possession numbers are a bit concerning. His penalty kill numbers from this season are down significantly. However, Pouliot has a proven history of being a net positive while short-handed, so teams should take this season’s numbers with a grain of salt.
The Sabres will be lucky to get anything of value for Josefson. He has just three points in 15 games and is by a significant margin the worst possession forward on one of the NHL’s worst possession teams.
If Buffalo plays their cards right, they could wind up as one of the biggest winners at the NHL trade deadline. Moral victories mean nothing when you’ve had a playoff drought as long as the Sabres, but it would be a way for them to salvage a broken season.
Be sure to check out our rumors section for up to date information!