Buffalo Sabres Must Run Table In February To Become Buyers At Trade Deadline
Following a winning January, the Buffalo Sabres have some fans asking if the team will be buyers come the NHL trade deadline. We examine the possibility.
Since 2016 said its adieus, the Buffalo Sabres have been a team worth watching (for the most part).
A record of 7-5-1 in the month of January. 42 goals scored and 40 goals allowed, meaning the Sabres averaged 3.23 goals per game and were actually +2 on the month.
Not the sort of numbers that will blow you away, granted, but remember: at one point this season, the Buffalo Sabres were the only team in the NHL who were averaging less than two goals per game.
Buffalo’s surge has not had much of an impact on the standings (Buffalo is tied with Tampa Bay for last place in the Eastern Conference) but it has given fans a reason to keep tuning into games: with 52 points, the Sabres are just 6 points back of the 8th-in-the-East Boston Bruins.
Six points? That’s nothing, right? Let’s see if GM Tim Murray can get on the phone, swing a trade that brings another scoring forward, or maybe a top-4 defenseman like Tyson Barie or Shea Theodore, into the 716 and . . .
Cool your jets there, young one. You’re getting ahead of yourself.
Six points sounds like no big deal – just three wins! – but the Buffalo Sabres would need to win three more games than the Boston Bruins in February just to tie them, meaning that if Boston goes .500 on the month (5-5-0), Buffalo needs to win 8 out of their 14 games this month just to be tied with the Bruins.
Again, that might be doable – but we have not even started discussing the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are currently only one point behind the Bruins. Or the Florida Panthers, who are only two points back. Or the Carolina Hurricanes, New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils – you get the point.
The Buffalo Sabres not only have to win three more games than Boston to creep into the playoff race, but hope they also post better records than all six of the teams that currently make up the 9-14 spots in the East.
Sorry, readers: that is just not likely to happen.
If you want to use Super Bowl 51 as inspiration, go right ahead: don’t mistake my stating what I think will happen for what I wish would happen. I sincerely HOPE the Buffalo Sabres can play winning hockey the remainder of the 2016-17 season and find themselves in a playoff spot, but I don’t honestly believe it will happen. If it was just the number of points that the Sabres had to overcome, things might not look so bleak . . . but having to catch no less than seven other teams makes this Mission Impossible.
So the bottom line: if you are looking for the Buffalo Sabre to become buyers, you are certainly a glass-half-full kind of person. If the Sabres tear up February to the tune of 10-2-2, you will have my attention . . . but even then, any moves the team makes will be minor tweaks, as GMTM is not going to sell his prospects in a desperate swing for the fences. If Buffalo enters March having only sold a spare part or two, I would take that as a great sign of progress.
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