Buffalo Sabres Trade Strategy: Who the Sabres Should Move
With the April 3 NHL Trade Deadline fast approaching, the Buffalo Sabres need to strongly consider trading some of their veterans. It is clear the team is nearing a rebuilding phase with the team as currently constructed, are are on the verge of missing the playoffs for the second straight year. The lack of leadership, skilled forwards, and defensive physicality need to be rectified sooner rather than later if the Sabres want to compete in any meaningful way.
The Sabres do have some very good young talent in Tyler Ennis, Mike Foligno, Tyler Myers, and Mikhail Grigorenko but are far from being able to put that talent in a position to win. It is time the Sabres top trying to squeak into the playoffs but instead build a team that will be competitive for the coming years. The current mix of players just doesn’t seem to mesh well enough to allow the Sabres to compete.
The Sabres should refuse to trade any of the aforementioned prospects and young players unless they receive an offer they can’t refuse. Trading promising young talent for unknown younger talent seems like a big step backwards. Unfortunately, this means that the Sabres must trade some of their veterans, and most of those are not only currently the best players on the team, but have also spent their entire careers with the Sabres. If the Sabres had a glut of veteran talent, then they would not be in the NHL Eastern Conference basement. Here are the Top 5 veterans the Sabres should look to trade in order from last to first.
Ryan Miller is the longest-tenured Sabre and probably the best However, he is currently 32-years old and while he is usually the reason why the Sabres can be so competitive, his trade value will only continue to slide. His contract runs out at the end of the 2013-14 season, which gives any team that trades for him some insurance that he won’t immediately test the free agent waters.
Thomas Vanek is by far and away the most skilled offensive player on the team. Whenever he sits due to injuries (he is currently nursing an upper-body injury), it is clear the Sabres lack offensive punch in the opposing team’s zone. Vanek would ideally be suited on a first line with at least one other bona fide star player, which the Sabres currently don’t have. At 29, Vanek is in the midst of his prime years and would fetch a very handsome return.
Aside from Miller, Jason Pominville would be the toughest player to see leave the team. He has easily been the most consistent player since being called up from the minors and is currently the team captain. It may be time for Pommers to leave in order for the Sabres to truly begin a rebuilding process.
This one is simple enough. Robyn Regehr has never worked out for the Sabres. He has offered above-average play but he never seem to fit in with the team and never reached the level of play he enjoyed as a member of the Calgary Flames. He would be a nice addition for a team looking to shore up their defense.
Drew Stafford encapsulates the team’s problems. He was considered to be a talented prospect that could someday become a great power forward in the league, but he has failed to turn the corner. He has good size but rarely uses it to his advantage, and he has never fully become the offensive threat many thought he would be. He is still on the younger side at 27 and could entice teams with his unfulfilled promise. If there is one player that should be traded, it should be Stafford.