Now that Terry Pegula has officially been sworn in as king of the Sabres’ throne it’s time to start thinking about the future. The NHL trade deadline is only six days away and it will certainly be interesting to see what approach Buffalo takes. Darcy Regier has come out publicly and said the team isn’t interested in acquiring expiring contracts and if they do make any moves it will be to solidify the future.
I believe the Sabres should attempt to do two things at the deadline: Sell off some stale players and make one significant splash for the future.
The time has come Darcy. It’s time to admit mistakes of the past and shake up this core. Trading away Tim Connolly and Craig Rivet should be no-brainers, but how about someone like Jochen Hecht or Paul Gaustad? What about Jason Pominville? If a team comes calling on any of these players I would sincerely hope Darcy gives it a lot of thought. In order for Buffalo to get to the next level it’s going to need to change the make-up of the team.
It’s no secret that the Sabres lack a true No. 1 center. It’s been that way since Chris Drury and Danny Briere left and no matter how well Derek Roy plays he isn’t on that level. With a weak 2011 free agent class, a trade may truly be the only way to address this need. Another area I think the Sabres are lacking is a top defenseman to play along side Myers. Pairing him with a proven player could be the best thing for him. Below is a list of players I have heard mentioned in trader rumors (not all with Buffalo) and ones I think the Sabres should take a look at. The one thing to take from the Erik Johnson trade last week is that no player is untouchable.
1. Paul Stastny C: He makes 6.6 million per year and is signed through 2013-14.
2. David Backes RW: He’s going to make 4.5 million starting next season and is signed through 2015-16. The Blues have already shown they’re sellers this year.
3. Stephen Weiss C: He makes 3.1 million and is locked in for two more seasons.
4. Brad Richards C: He makes 7.8 million and is a free agent after this season. He doesn’t fit the description of the player Regier is looking for, but he would fill the No. 1 center role.
5. Dustin Brown RW: An Ithaca native, Brown makes 3.175 million and is locked up through 2013-14.
6. Alexander Semin RW: He’s slated to make 6.7 million next season.
7. Zach Parise LW: He’s going to be a restricted free agent at the end of the season, but he’s going to be a star in the league for a long time.
8. Pat Kane RW: He’s going to make 6.3 million and he’s locked up until 2014-15. Bringing back a Buffalo kid with his talent would have all the makings for a great story.
9. Brent Seabrook D: He’s going to be a restricted free agent next season, but it’s hard to think the Blackhawks are going to be able to sign him to a long term deal.
10. Robyn Regehr D: A solid veteran defenseman that is locked up for the next two seasons at 4.02 million.
Although there is no way most of these players get moved at the deadline, these are the type of players the Sabres should be inquiring about when the season ends. With the weak free agent class, trades may be the only way to make a significant roster move.
(Cap numbers provided by capgeek.com)