Jason Zucker (LW)
Age: 27 Contract: $5.5M for next 4 seasons
Zucker was drafted by the Minnesota Wild in 2010 as the 59th overall pick. After posting 64 points (33 goals, 31 assists) two seasons ago, Zucker saw his production levels decline, scoring 21 goals and 21 assists this past season.
The potential is there for Zucker to surpass 30 goals for the second time in his career. He’s a four-time 20-goal scorer who would give Buffalo some help in the top 6. He’s an easy upgrade over some of the lackluster options the Sabres currently have.
Zucker can submit a list of 10 teams he would not want to be traded to.
— FanDuel (@FanDuel) November 10, 2017
Adam Henrique (C)
Age: 29 Contract: $5.8M for next 5 seasons
The first two options were wingers, but if the Sabres are looking for a true second-line center, Henrique is a strong option. The one glaring issue is that he has a long contract remaining, bringing him to age 34. It’s not the worst thing, but it’s important to note.
Henrique is capable of putting up 20-30 goals over the course of a full season and he’s hit 50 points on three occasions. He can help on the power play and would be a great option and it would also allow Sam Reinhart to remain on the wing.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 7, 2018
He has 335 career points in 594 games (160 goals, 175 assists) and has a +/- rating of -1 despite playing for the New Jersey Devils and Anaheim Ducks. He’s only been in 28 playoff games and has 13 points in those.
If the Sabres could swing a deal for Henrique, they’d lock down a No. 2 center who has proven success.
Henrique does carry a modified NTC, meaning he can submit a list of 10 teams he does not want to be traded to.
Nikolaj Ehlers (LW)
Age: 23 Contract: $6M for next 6 seasons
Ehlers is easily the youngest forward on this list and he was signed to a long-term deal by the Winnipeg Jets last year. After hearing a report from Frank Seravalli, there is a reason to believe that Ehlers could be the odd-man out.
TRADE BAIT: GM Kevin Cheveldayoff says #nhljets have a lot of balls in the air. So what’s next?
Belief is Jets offered Nikolaj Ehlers to #Canes for one of their right-shooting defencemen.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) June 18, 2019
The former ninth overall pick in 2014 has put together three straight 20-goal seasons, scoring 64, 60, and 37 points, respectively. He missed 20 games last season, and just missed the 30-goal mark two years ago.
After shaving the cancer ribbon into his head, Nikolaj Ehlers scores a hat trick on Jets' Hockey Fights Cancer Night pic.twitter.com/xzzesgCbrF
— Heart of NHL (@HeartofNHL) November 30, 2018
The point is, Ehlers is still a very young forward with immense potential. It would have to take a big offer for this trade to come to life but he’d jump right into Buffalo’s core and would remain there for six seasons.
Ehlers can submit a list of 10 teams he does not want to be traded to.
Bo Horvat (C)
Age: 24 Contract: $5.5M for next 4 seasons
Before I even being to discuss Horvat, this is an extreme long shot. It would take a serious haul in order to bring a player of this caliber back in a deal. But, the Sabres are looking for centers and while he isn’t “on the block” or anything of the like, Horvat would be a very strong No. 2 center for Buffalo.
There was a tweet on Tuesday from Rick Dhaliwal about a rumor between Vancouver and Buffalo:
Source : #Canucks seem to be talking with Buffalo about a defenseman, not sure if its Rasmus Ristolainen or Zach Bogosian.
— Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) June 18, 2019
It would definitely take much more than Ristolainen…
Horvat is only 24 years old and still in the beginning of a nice contract. He has three straight 20-goal seasons and is coming off his best year yet with 27 goals, 34 assists, and 61 points, all career highs.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) December 1, 2018
He was the 9th overall pick in 2013 and has quickly become a fan favorite in Vancouver. Listed at 6’0″, 215 lbs, Horvat already has proven NHL success and checks all the boxes for a top line center. He has room to grow and a few years before he even enters his prime.
For Botterill to make a convincing offer, he’d have to put together a hefty package, and even then, it may not be enough. Horvat seems to be a huge piece of Vancouver’s future, so consider this nearly a pipe dream.