NHL Trade Deadline: Buffalo Sabres Outlook, Fits, Trade Candidates
NHL Trade Deadline: A disappointing season thus far in 2016-17, the Buffalo Sabres are currently lurking in the basement of the Eastern Conference. The good news? They sit just five points outside of that final Wild-Card spot.
Next in our 30-team NHL trade deadline preview is the Buffalo Sabres. 2016-17 was supposed to be the year that Buffalo finally takes that next step in development and challenge for a playoff spot.
Despite the fact that they sit tied for dead last in the Eastern Conference (with TB/DET), parity has reigned supreme this year. The Sabres have a record of 22-21-10 (54 points) and find themselves just seven points shy of that second Wild-Card spot, currently occupied by Philadelphia.
The Sabres went through one of the most exhausting rebuilds in NHL history and that resulted in them being sellers through many trade deadline days. They are still in a playoff race right now, but will likely still find themselves as sellers.
Two years ago the Sabres dealt both of their goaltenders (Jhonas Enroth and Michal Neuvirth) to add to their tank job. They kicked off that trade season by making the blockbuster Evander Kane/Tyler Myers deal, which they ultimately came out looking foolish.
Last year saw the Sabres make improvements, but still not enough to go on a buying spree around deadline day.
BIGGEST NEED: Scorers
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The Sabres are still a basement dwelling team even though GM Tim Murray has added big name talent. Kyle Okposo is leading the team in points, but the team still needs more goal scorers on the club.
The Sabres still have a chance to make a run to the playoffs, and I think Tim Murray is getting anxious, knowing next year may be his last chance and his rope is getting tighter.
If the Sabres decide they want to go for it, Murray will look at secondary options on the cheap like Mike Ribeiro, PA Parenteau or Alex Burrows.
It would be in their best interest to sell what they can while maybe adding one piece to keep the team competitive.
DEADLINE PREDICTION: Sabres move one big name, acquire one big name
Whichever club finishes second in the Kevin Shattenkirk sweepstakes will likely look to Dmitry Kulikov. While Kulikov doesn’t have the offensive upside that Shattenkirk has, he’s arguably the next most accomplished d-man.
Kulikov was acquired for Mark Pysyk and a swap of second round picks and he has enough value to bring something the Sabres could use.
Buffalo could move Kulikov to a team that needs an upgrade on the blue line, and then use the package to acquire a scoring winger or center.
to BOS: D Dmitry Kulikov, 2017 3rd round pick
to BUF: D Joe Morrow, 2018 2nd round pick
to STL: LW Evan Rodrigues, 2018 2nd round pick
to BUF: LW David Perron