Buffalo Sabres: Buying or Selling? Part 2

(Photo: Andy Martin Jr)
Steve Ott (Andy Martin Jr.)

With the trade deadline fast approaching, some of the only positives on this sad Sabres 2013 season may be on the market. Hot players for hot draft picks. But considering how Buffalo is at the near-bottom of the league (not even just the conference, the league), they may have some high draft picks of their own. Hopefully Darcy Regier won’t let those go in the process of possibly letting go of some of his forwards.

Drew Stafford

The Red Wings have been scouting this one, needing some offense on the right side, especially with injuries to Darren Helm and Todd Bertuzzi. He’s in his prime at 27, but has had a rough year, previously coming off of 20 and 31 goal seasons. He’s locked up until 2015 at $4-million per campaign. The Wings might be better off saving up for their pending UFA Valtteri Filppula, who’s requesting up to $5-million next season.

Steve Ott

The pest is in a four-year $11.8-million contract, which only had a no-trade clause for the first year, lucky for the Sabres. If it makes Buffalo fans feel any better, Derek Roy, who Ott was traded for, is on the market as well. The additions of Ott and John Scott in the off-season certainly intensified Buffalo’s rough and tough game, but you can’t be a one character team; whether the bench is defensively minded or the offensively fueled, you need a little of both, at least. And the only man (right below) really pulling the team offensively is perhaps their best bet on the trading block.

Thomas Vanek

I know what you’re thinking: Regier would be crazy to do this. Though he’s more than $7-million against the team’s cap hit, the left-winger has been top 10 in NHL points since the season started. And let’s face it, he’s no longer the infamous lazy guy in the dressing room, the man works hard. He’s hot, and teams would want him. “It’s always in the back of your mind,” Vanek has said. “Stay here or move on? At the end of the day, it’s the team’s decision. I haven’t heard from them. But, yeah, you think about different situations.” Vanek is a UFA after next season, as is…

Jason Pominville

Pominville has a limited no trade clause, meaning he could provide eight teams in which he would be interested in playing for. He wouldn’t be the first captain dealt on Trade Deadline Day. And won’t be the last (see Iginla, Morrow). The Sabres ultimately are in a transition period, and ridding themselves of their most valuable items could one day benefit them from what they could get in return. The majority of the team leaders and once “productive” players are nearing their thirties. Captain Pomi himself is a $5.3-million cap hit. Wouldn’t a nice high draft pick be better instead?