The Sabres currently have $9.9 million left in cap space with two players left to be resigned, Tyler Ennis and Patrick Kaleta. Both of those players should at most take $4 million combined in cap space, with more on that later, so that leaves the Sabres with $5 million in excess cap space. It gives the team flexibility to take on a bunch of salary if needed for a deal to be completed. If the Sabres were to deal Jordan Leopold, they could take back a deal worth $8 million in cap space and if Sekera was the player dealt, that number would increase a quarter million to $8.25 million.
That leaves all of the Flyers forwards in play in terms of cap space. Looking at the quality of players being offered by the Sabres, I'm fairly certain that trying to obtain Danny Briere, Scott Hartnell, Claude Giroux, or even Jacob Voracek or Brayden Schenn is going to be difficult if not impossible. That doesn't mean that there aren't forwards available for the Sabres to make a decent deal. Follow the jump to see our three best possible players for a deal.
Couturier was a first round pick for the Flyers in the 2011 NHL Draft and in his first full season he scored 27 points in 77 games which was good for 11th overall for the Flyers in 2011-12. Before making the Flyers, the center played spent three seasons with the Drummondville Voltigeurs in the QMJHL where he scored 223 points over 184 games. Couturier is one of the Flyers better prospects and could be a solid center for the Flyers for years to come.
The Sabres could use Couturier down the middle, but the team's glut of young centers might make playing time difficult in a few years. The Sabres would most likely have to package a mid-level prospect, like Luke Adam, along with Andrej Sekera to make the deal worth it for the Flyers.
Simmonds had a decent 49 point season (28+21) last year for the Flyers after being apart of the deal that brought Mike Richards to the Los Angeles Kings. Simmonds has played four seasons in the NHL at the right wing and only has one year left on his contract before becoming a restricted free agent. Simmonds has 142 points in 322 career games and his 49 point total along with his 28 goals were career highs.
Simmonds would fit nicely in on the second or third lines along with Steve Ott as Simmonds likes to throw the body around. He had 144 hits last season, which was good for seventh on the team and fourth among Flyer forwards. The Sabres might be able to make a deal that includes Jordan Leopold considering that both are free agents, but if Leopold is going to be dealt it is probably more likely to happen at the deadline as a rental player rather than during the offseason.
Matt Read is well known to Sabres fans as he was the guy that killed the Sabres season last year, scoring the game winning goal in the Flyers 2-1 victory on April 5th. After being undrafted, Read made his NHL debut last season with the Flyers and scored 47 points in 79 games with the team. Read spent four years at Bemidji State scoring 143 points in 147 games.
Another young forward that is coming up through the ranks, the Flyers may be asking more than he's worth in a deal to get him. If the Sabres are trying to get young though, Read may be the most available winger the Flyers would be able to part with. Playing right wing, he could slot in nicely on the Sabres second line. With two years left on his deal, his $900,000 cap hit would be a good way to save money in the future. If the Sabres give up more than just a defenseman for Read though, it would be an overpayment.