Last week I wrote a post on players I thought could be possible targets for the Sabres if they were looking to make a block buster deal that would change the shape of their core going forward. With the roster freeze over I think now it’s time to ask the more realistic question of what we would consider a successful trade deadline, specifically in assets acquired.
Firstly, for me to consider it a successful trade deadline Buffalo’s two big unrestricted free agents Ryan Miller and Matt Moulson have to be dealt. The return you can get for both has more value to the franchise going forward then the long term deals they’d sign, that is if you could convince them to even consider that option.
I’d also prefer the future of Steve Ott to be settled one way or another. If they view Ott has a part of the rebuild they should reward him with a new deal by the 5th. If not, he’s a player that holds value to just about any contending team and could bring some nice pieces back. But at the end of the day the fate of Steve Ott won’t make or break my trade deadline.
So what would the return at the deadline have to look like in order for it to be considered successful? For starters I’d like a guy with potential to be a top 6 forward. Matt Moulson might be the only UFA the Sabres possess who can bring in a guy with that type of potential. With how high in demand a player of his caliber is at the deadline that shouldn’t be a hard price to fetch. The hard part will finding a player that has that potential and is close to being NHL ready. I’d also want a first round pick (preferably 2015) to go with the prospect you’d acquire by dealing Moulson. The Sabres theme going forward is quality or quantity, so if they lose a mid-round pick to make it work its fine by me.
Trading Miller is a much harder market to predict making it hard to decide what the expectation should be on a return for him. I’d be happy with two mid-level pieces say a 2nd round pick and prospect with comparable talent Larsen. I know a lot of people won’t like the idea of acquiring more assets that are more likely to be bottom 6 players then top 6, but for an aging goalie that’s going to be a UFA that might be all you get. Let’s remember to the 3rd and 4th liners currently on Buffalos roster aren't players who are 3rd and 4th liners on good rosters, there’s room for improvements on the team there as well.
My final asset I’d like to acquire comes off the comments recently made by Tim Murray. When asked if he thought Hackett or Lieuwen would get the call up if Miller was traded he replied with "If either of them is the goalie of the future, it’s not the near future." With comments like that its essential you acquire a stop gap to play with Enroth going forward to ensure you don’t stunt either's development by playing them before they’re ready. A stop gap goalie isn't particularly hard to find at the deadline and typically don’t require much in return making that an easy asset to acquire.
To summarize, my minimum of acquisitions for a successful trade deadline would include
- Forward with legitimate top 6 potential
- 1st round pick in 2014 or 2015 draft
- 2nd round pick in 2014 or 2015 draft
- Mid-level prospect (comparable to Larsen)
- Stop gap goalie (contingent on Miller trade)
If you include other deals that could take place with Ott or other players on the roster this list could obviously be longer. Some may argue that this list should be longer even if you only trade Miller and Moulson. But for me this the minimum I would like to see added into an already deep pool of Buffalo prospects and picks for it to be considered successful.
Now I pose the question to you DBTB, what would it take for you to consider it a successful trade deadline?