It looks like Thomas Vanek and possibly Maxim Afinogenov will be back in the lineup for the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night against the Habs. The Sabres offense has struggled badly in the past couple of games and has been wildly inconsistent since the injury to Vanek. The return of Vanek is welcome news with the team currently in ninth place and 19 games left in the season.
The return of Afinogenov...well that is a different story. It's unknown whether or not he will even be on the team when the Sabres and Canadiens Face-off on Wednesday night. Afinogenov has long been rumored to be traded out of Buffalo and that speculation increased this week with his comments about being unhappy.
With the return of Afinogenov and Vanek, the Sabres now have 15 healthy skaters. If my math is correct...and it is...that leaves the Sabres with enough forwards for five lines. The five lines look like this as per the Sabres Edge this afternoon.
The lines listed above are certainly intriguing for a couple of reasons. First of all as listed above it would look like MacArthur-Mair-Peters would be scratched from the lineup, even more interesting is the trade possibilities. The second line is being termed the "trade line" because all three players are unrestricted free agents at the end of the season. If they are indeed traded away there better be someone coming back in return because the scoring woes would probably get worse with the second line of Hecht-Gaustad-Pominville.
The countdown is on to the trade deadline and things will probably start heating up tomorrow morning. The rumors are a plentiful and the possibilities endless. I'll have much more on the deadline tonight and tomorrow.