Tim Murray is going to be a busy guy. Busy but happy.
There are so many possible options for trades with the Sabres it's hard to decide who to trade for who. It seems rather obvious after listening to Murray that he has a desire to move some of our pieces for younger players that are ready to take the next step into the league or are in need of a bit more time in the minors. He wants top prospects and potential difference makers. Those players that teams hate to let go of and with good reason.
As I stroll through the teams said to be buyers, I happened upon a couple of up and comers that I thought might be of particular interest to the Sabres moving forward while keeping the youthful up and comers parameters in mind (no vets).
First and foremost, with the potential departure of Ryan Miller there appears to be a need for an upgrade in net. Murray has made in clear he likes bigger goalies. Sorry Enroth, you just don't fit the bill. I wondered if a player like Subban out of Boston could be of value to this team. He is 6'1" and has twice been names an OHL All Star. Also he has a .921 save % and has played better in the playoffs every year. If his older brother is any indicator of his up side, he could slot into a number one pretty quick, otherwise staying in Boston, he could be stuck behind Rask for many years.
Gibson out of Anaheim is another big kid, checking in at 6'3", 208, back to back All-Star appearances and he puts up some pretty solid numbers too. The Ducks don't appear to be particularly motivated to move Gibson as he appears to have been identified as the heir apparent.
It seems almost counter productive and a complete waste of time to consider altering the pipeline with any more kids on the back end. With the two hulking towers in Z and Risto joining McCabe and Pysyk. The defensive position appears to be all but locked up long term. For the sake of interest, the only moves I could see the team making would have to include one of the major defensive properties out there.
Ekblad jumps to the fore as well as Dougie Hamilton out of Boston. Dougie may be one of those guys that is unattainable, but there is something about this kid that makes him worth while. Reinhart out of the Isles is another kid who is projecting the right direction, but all in all who would you give up to get him or any of these guys.
This is obviously the area that the team needs the most help with, If we assume for a minute that Moulson, Ott, Stafford and Ellis move on or are moved to get some younger pieces, there are a wealth of spaces available in the line up. In our current AHL line up there are very few, if any, players that stand out as the next big thing coming to Buffalo. Grigorenko was projected to be that guy, but it is yet to materialize. Looking around the league, I would love to pry MacKinnon out of the Avs, but realistically it's not happening. So continuing to look, I hesitate on Vancity's Bo Horvath, he is a big boy who could be a great power forward to play with Girgs. At 6' and 206 at 18, he has the potential to become a monster with a few more pounds of pure muscle. He has good hands, but not a superstar. He sees the ice very well and could be a great one two punch on the second line.
Anthony Mantha out of Detroit would be another prime pick up to help this team moving forward. He averages more than a point per game and could be the winger that replaces Vanek for the next dozen years. Being 6'4" doesn't hurt when heading to the net either. He knows how to score and could be an incredible asset on a line with CoHo in the near future, assuming CoHo isn't traded.
What will Murray do? We will find out right shortly. Will he be able to pull off any miracles and land any of the truly big fish. Is it realistic to hope that he does? How much will he have to pay to get even one of these guys?
With huge expectations surrounding all these guys, I struggle to see how any team would be will to let any of them go, but as we know stranger things have happened.