I LOVE LOVE LOVE Trade Deadline time in the NHL. It's exciting, it's interesting, full of steals, full of laughers, and full of bad panic extensions. Every team is pretty much involved and almost every fan can hope for the new toy to watch the rest of the season. Luckily for NHL fans Christmas comes twice a year (Deadline and July 1st) and can even sometimes come early. Best sport in the world. With the news of the Ducks having a "Everything Must Go Sale" and Nash saying he wouldn't hesitate to waive his NTC, I figured I'd give a break down of how the Sabres should approach the deadline a few months out still (this is the first of many deadline blogs to come).
Current Record: 39 GP 18-17-4 40pts 11th in the Eastern Conference (4 points out of a playoff spot)
I say this with a asterisk however, should the Sabres continue to fall in the next week or two I would move them to sellers. If things stay the way they are now when the deadline rolls around or the Sabres are in a playoff spot, I see Terry Pegula pushing hard to get help. He does not want his first season as owner to result in no playoff birth.
Upcoming UFA's: Jochen Hecht, Brad Boyes, Paul Gaustad
Upcoming RFA's: Tyler Ennis, Patrick Kaleta, TJ Brennan, Marc Andre Gragnani
Untouchable (my opinion): Thomas Vanek, Tyler Myers, Brayden McNabb, Nathan Gerbe....Luke Adam, Zack Kassian (last two tell me the deal first).
For Sale: Derek Roy, Drew Stafford, MA Gragnani, Andrej Sekera, Mike Weber, Jochen Hecht, Brad Boyes
Dark Horses that could be moved: Jordan Leopold, Paul Gaustad, Tyler Ennis, Ryan Miller (Very Very Unlikely more possible in offseason would have to be ultimate blockbuster with goalie coming back).
Needs: #1 Center, #2 Center, Size
Don't Need: Winger, #4,5,6 D-man, Goalie, Small
Targets (my opinion): Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf, Sam Gagner, Eric Staal, Tuomo Ruutu, Paul Stastny, Thomas Pleckanc, Radim Vrbata
The Sabres have been active at the deadline every season for a long time. Seeing this being the first deadline in the Pegula era I expect no different. Realisticly if the Sabres want to battle for Getzlaf, Ryan, or Staal it may cost 1 or 2 of the untouchable players. Can't wait two months away!