As the February 26th Trade Deadline approaches, there is a similar but different feeling when it comes to Buffalo’s situation.
The Sabres are once again in the basement of the standings. It hasn’t taken long for fans to turn their attention to deadlines and drafts as any chance of playoffs are just a pipe dream.
This year’s Trade Deadline is almost guaranteed to be one of the most exciting in recent memory for Sabres fans.
What Buffalo Needs Most
With expiring contracts on the books, an under-performing roster and a frustrated fanbase, moves must be made.
With the season all but over, it is clear the Sabres will be selling off assets at the deadline to help continue the ongoing rebuild.
Like last year, they have a handful of expiring UFA contracts in Evander Kane, Benoit Pouliot, Jacob Josefson, Josh Gorges, Justin Falk, and Chad Johnson.
Evander Kane Will Be Traded
If you were one of the many Sabres fans that wanted Kane to re-sign with Buffalo, you may want to give up on that dream. He is as good as gone.
The only question with Kane now is where he will go and how much Buffalo can get in return.
With a player like Kane, Botterill has a great trade chip to sell off to a contender.
Many reports have said Buffalo is looking for a 1st round pick, a prospect and a current roster player. With players like Rick Nash, and possibly Patrick Maroon joining the list of available players, it may be tough for Buffalo to get the return they are hoping for.
However, Buffalo could still get at least a first-rounder and a mid-tier prospect. With a Draft this deep with talent, grabbing an extra first-rounder would be a great start for the return on Kane.
Kane has just five points in his last 23 games and hasn’t exactly boosted his trade stock. However, Kane is still having arguably his best season since 2011 with 19 goals and 20 assists in 60 games (.65 points per game). That 2011-12 year with the Winnipeg Jets, he scored 30 goals and 27 assists for 57 points in 74 games (.77 points per game).
Why This Year is Different
Welcome to the big show, GMJB! With Tim Murray gone, Jason Botterill is now the captain of what some might mistake for the Titanic. Buffalo’s sinking ship has been going down for several years in the making.
However, with franchise center Jack Eichel and other important building blocks in the system, there is at least of sliver of hope.
Unlike Tim Murray last year, Botterill will undoubtedly be an active trade partner at the deadline. Making any moves at all this year will be more exciting than the Mat Bodie for Daniel Catenacci trade that Murray pulled off last year.
Botterill has a blockbuster waiting to happen as well as serviceable veterans that can be shipped out for draft picks. Some people still have mixed opinions on Botterill. After all, he is still a rookie GM. But after the quick rebuild of Rochester, and with acquisitions like Scott Wilson for a 5th round pick in next year’s draft, Botterill appears to know what he’s doing.
Although Buffalo fans are looking forward to the draft in June already, the Trade Deadline should be an entertaining one at the very least under Jason Botterill.