As the calendar trends towards the month of March, pressure increases on the Buffalo Sabres front office to make moves that will ultimately improve the franchise.
Throughout the past few weeks, several names have been tossed around. With the Sabres looking to further their rebuild, rumors have become the water cooler talk.
Looking at the Sabres roster, there are five players who could logically be traded on or by March 5th.
The first logical name on the list is goaltender Ryan Miller. In the final year of his deal, Miller remains a top goaltender, despite the Sabres only scoring 1.82 goals per game. At the time of this writing, Ryan Miller has recorded the 6th most saves in league, while amassing a .923 save percentage which puts him 12th in league.
While Miller may be on the back nine of his career at age 33, there is no doubting his ability to overtake a game. Miller has been known to put the Sabres on his back from time to time, and a Cup Contender could certainly use that.
For the Sabres, while Miller is the face of this franchise, a trade could bring back a very large package. In the time of a rebuild, Miller is the biggest chip at the table for General Manager Tim Murray.
The next name to look at is Matt Moulson. In a league where goal scoring is at a premium, Moulson is a perennial 30 goal scorer and he is only 30 years old. A top-line talent who can play in multiple situations. Moulson has been a great offensive talent since being acquired by the Sabres, confirming his worth to the league. Moulson’s play this season has the Buffalo Sabres very happy with potential trade returns.
Steve Ott is next on this list. Ott, who is 6th in the league with 186 hits, brings a ton of veteran leadership to the table. That alone is very attractive to an NHL franchise looking to take the next step in the playoffs. Also, Ott wins faceoffs at good clip, 51.4% (344 of 669). While Ott wants to stay in Buffalo, and the Sabres want Ott here, a trade seems likely. Last season, the Sabres reportedly received an offer of a first-round pick for Steve Ott. It is safe to say that if Ott’s market is again in that range, his days with the Buffalo Sabres are numbered.
The aforementioned big three are the names that many expected to hear. Looking at the rest of the Sabres roster, there are a few unmentioned players that could garner trade consideration.
Both Cody McCormick and Henrik Tallinder could get a long look from playoff contending teams as the trade deadline approaches.
McCormick is a 4th liner who brings a veteran, gritty presence. While that doesn’t appear like a big deal on paper, McCormick’s presence could prove big while a team is chasing down the Stanley Cup. McCormick is an important piece to the puzzle, no matter how you look at it.
Tallinder is a veteran defenseman, who should be able to play a solid 12-15 minutes a game for a contender. While Tallinder won’t light up the score sheet, he can bring consistency to bottom half of a contender’s defense. Tallinder has struggled this season in Buffalo, but a veteran with 39 games of playoff experience is never something to overlook.
The important part about McCormick and Tallinder this trade deadline is their expiring contracts. Veteran help at a fraction of the normal price should bring a few phone calls.
It is evident that the next 9 days will be a roller coaster ride for the Buffalo Sabres organization. A pile of moving parts will begin their descent throughout the league, in hopes that the pending return will help mold the future Buffalo Sabres. Either way, General Manager Tim Murray hopes to come out of this impending deadline with a better set of future pieces than what he previously had.