Buffalo Sabres fans are getting anxious because the March 5 NHL trade deadline is approaching, and there are trade rumors circulating all around the team. The most prominent Sabres player involved in trade rumors would be goaltender Ryan Miller, but is Miller all that the Sabres have to offer in a trade? If the Sabres are not able to bring value to the trade table for other teams then Buffalo will have to start cutting players instead of getting something in return. Let’s look at a few Sabres players and see if they have any trade value for Buffalo or if the team should consider getting rid of these players at all.
Ville Leino has a contract that is good until the 2016-17 season. He makes $4 million this season and is scheduled to make $4 million again next year. Leino is rightfully considered to be one of the worst free agent signings in Sabres’ history. His expensive contract makes it impossible to trade him which means that the Sabres will have to buy Leino out and cut their losses.
Tyler Ennis is a restricted free agent after this season, and he is expected to command a contract that would be between $3.5 and $4 million per season. Ennis has trade value and it is value the Sabres should investigate before the trade deadline. It is unlikely that new general manager Tim Murray is going to pay Tyler Ennis $4 million per season when much better players will be available in free agency who would command the same salary or less.
Linus Omark was one of those acquisitions brought in before Murray was hired, and it is unlikely that he will be with the Sabres next season. Omark is an unrestricted free agent after this season, and he does offer some trade value for Buffalo based on his bright prospects for the future. The Sabres would be lucky to get a late round draft pick for Omark, but it is better than getting nothing for him after the season is over.
McBain is a restricted free agent when this season is over, and there is a chance the Sabres may want to keep him. McBain has value on the power play and his booming shot from the point always impresses general managers and scouts from other teams. If the Sabres do not trade McBain by March 5 then he will probably be with Buffalo’s starting lineup next season.
There is no doubt that Mikhail Grigorenko will be a solid NHL player at some point in the future. But the Sabres have mismanaged the young Russian center so poorly that it may be in the best interests of the team and Grigorenko if he was just given a new place to start over. Grigorenko brings a lot of trade value to the table as he has a huge upside that would be attractive to a lot of teams.