With the 2013 NHL trade deadline bearing down upon us like a runaway train, Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier has little over a week to make some job saving decisions. Despite a recent two game winning streak, this Buffalo team has floundered from the start and with the prospect of missing the playoffs for the third time in five seasons there are no longer untouchables in this group. The trade market hasn’t broken open yet, with only a few minor deals having been done in the past week, but things are about to pick up. Who will stay? Who will go? Here’s my take.
Jordan is a prime candidate to be moved for a variety of reasons. While his play has been less than impressive this season he is a valuable veteran addition for a younger team thin on defense heading into the playoffs (Ottawa?). Additionally he’s a UFA after the season, so for a rental he’ll be cheap. Leopold doesn’t figure into the future in Buffalo, move him for a mid level prospect, or a pick.
83.37% Chance of Being Traded
I started this list off with Jordan and Robyn because both players are veterans, who could be had on the cheap as rentals because of their impending UFA status. Like Leopold it is unlikely that Robyn is part of the Sabres plans moving forward, but he does have a no movement clause that he’d have to waive to be traded.
43.68% Chance of Being Traded
I said there were no untouchables in this group, and while that remains true Christian is about as close as it gets to one. His cap hit is low, his play has been terrific, he’s locked up long term, and he has a no trade clause. He’s not going anywhere.
1.02% Chance of Being Traded
Tyler is as enigmatic as it gets. From season to season, game to game, shift to shift, you aren’t sure if you’re getting the stud blueliner who won the Calder trophy or the turnover machine who is afraid to use his 6’8” frame to his advantage. Patience is the key here, most stud blueliners haven’t fully developed til age 24 and Myers could benefit from a fresh start with a new coach and new system next year. The return could be high, but Buffalo would be wise to wait this one out.
11.09% Chance of Being Traded
Weber is an interesting case. He’s cheap, 950k, an RFA at the end of the season, and has really come into his own this year. He’s very sound positionally and from a physical standpoint he’s a little like a younger Robyn Regehr. The question is whether he’s part of the future here in Buffalo or whether an enticing enough return would lure him away. I’m not sure what the market is for a promising young bottom pair defenseman, but Buffalo could go either way here.
40.20% Chance of Being Traded
From a cap hit to performance perspective, Sekera when healthy may be the Sabres best defenseman. Which is exactly why he should be traded. He’s got cost certainty the next two seasons (2.75$mil/cap hit) and can be plugged in for big minutes to bolster the blueline on a playoff contender. He’s also good for the Sabres for the same reason, except this team isn’t contending any time soon. If he returns from his injury this week it’s time to sell high with Andrej.
66.66% Chance of Being Traded
Mark Pysyk/Brayden McNabb
Both of these youngsters have the potential to be stalwarts in the blue and gold in the very near future. Other GM’s around the league might think they can be linchpins on their blueline as well, and if they’re going to give Buffalo a proven commodity at the NHL level it’s worth looking into.
31.64% Chance of Being Traded
Pardy could be had for a very insignificant conditional pick if a team just wants to add a body for the playoffs. He’s a UFA after this season and unlikely to be brought back into the fold here in Buffalo, at least at the NHL level. If someone offers anything for Adam he’s gone.
73.23% Chance of Being Traded
Looking at the goaltenders there’s not much the Sabres can, or really should do here. They could look to move Jhonas Enroth to a team that needs goaltending help going into the playoffs, but Jhonas’s play for the last year would scare teams from offering anything significant. For all those advocating trading Miller, where is he going and who is going to be the starter in Buffalo?
8.8% Chance of Being Traded
Let’s break this down to the basics. If Miller is traded the Sabres need to get their next franchise goaltender in return. They could trade for a young franchise goalie like Corey Schneider or Johnathan Bernier first and then deal Miller, but those initial trades don’t include Ryan. So the question is does anyone have a young potential starter they would trade for Ryan Miller to become their starting goaltender? If so, will Ryan sign an extension with that team, thus providing them the security to deal their young netminder? The only team that remotely qualifies is Columbus. Could the Sabres deal Ryan for Sergei Bobrovsky and maybe Nick Foligno? From Buffalo’s perspective it’s worth considering, but why would Columbus make that move? Bobrovsky is due a large raise this off-season, but he’ll still be cheaper than Miller. Do they believe they’d be able to sign Ryan to a contract extension before next summer, likely not. Also Miller’s no trade clause includes a list of 8 teams he can refuse a trade to, it would not be surprising if the perennial doormats of the league are on that list.
2.22% Chance of Being Traded
Check back tomorrow as I’ll break down the Sabres forwards, and their chances of being dealt.
Agree or Disagree, let me know on twitter @SabreHess, or in the comments below.