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Buffalo Sabres Tradeability

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It is no secret that the Buffalo Sabres need to shed some salary in order to sign enough players to have a full roster next season.  After the signing of Steve Montador on Wednesday they have committed approximately $47.5 million towards next season and they have a budget of around $50 million.  All is good, they have $2.5 million left to burn in free agency.  The problem is that they have only eight forwards signed for next season.

They will be able to call up players like Nathan Gerbe and Tim Kennedy that are still playing on their entry-level contract to help the salary situation.  They still have five restricted free agents that they need to try to sign as well.  It will be virtually impossible for Darcy Regier to sign enough players to complete the roster without trading away a roster player or two.

Now that we have established that someone will be traded we can try to figure out who that player(s) might be.  This is a team that has missed the playoffs for two consecutive seasons so you have to think that basically no player is untouchable.  If I had to name two players that would never be traded I would say Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller.

We have all heard of the word drinkability after Bud Light has made it so famous.  The full definition of drinkability from Webster's Dictionary is "suitable or safe for".  We can alter the word slightly and use the same definition to talk about tradeability.

What are the Sabres players Tradeability?

Pos Player Contract Status Cap Hit Tradeability Likely to be traded
LW Thomas Vanek 2013-2014 $7,142,857 100% 10%
C Derek Roy 2012-2013 $4,000,000 90% 20%
RW Jason Pominville 2013-2014 $5,000,000 50% 50%
LW/C Jochen Hecht 2011-2012 $3,525,000 30% 30%
C Tim Connolly 2010-2011 $4,500,000 50% 10%
RW Drew Stafford RFA x 90% 50%
LW Daniel Paille 2009-2010 $1,350,000 60% 40%
C/LW Paul Gaustad 2011-2012 $2,500,000 30% 10%
RW Mark Mancari RFA x 60% 50%
LW Clarke MacArthur RFA x 90% 50%
C/LW Adam Mair 2009-2010 $758,333 50% 20%
RW Patrick Kaleta RFA x 95% 10%
LW/C Tim Kennedy 2009-2010 $635,000 90% 10%
C/LW Phillip Gogulla 2009-2010 $685,000 60% 10%
C/LW Nathan Gerbe 2010-2011 $850,000 95% 20%
D Craig Rivet 2010-2011 $2,333,333 70% 20%
D Henrik Tallinder 2009-2010 $2,562,500 40% 40%
D Toni Lydman 2009-2010 $2,875,000 50% 50%
D Nathan Paestch 2009-2010 $850,000 40% 50%
D Andrej Sekera RFA x 70% 30%
D Chris Butler 2010-2011 $576,666 90% 10%

 

Tradeability

There are plenty of players on the Sabres that other teams would covet for various reasons.  They may have offensive talent, be a physical player, a solid defender etc.  That doesn't mean the Sabres will be actively shopping a player because he is a tradeable player.  There are many factors that go into a trade and the key is to find the right deal.

The Sabres most tradeable players would be...

  1. Thomas Vanek -  Has the offensive numbers of a superstar at a relatively low cost.  Teams would be falling all over themselves to get a player of his caliber.
  2. Patrick Kaleta -  This one may sound a bit strange but every team wants a player like Kaleta that gets under the opponents skin.
  3. Nathan Gerbe -  An outstanding offensive talent that could someday be a huge (no pun intended) goal scorer in the NHL.
Most Likely to get traded

The players that are most likely to get traded are listed in no particular order.

  1. Jason Pominville -  had one bad season that will bring down his trade value but he would be a player that other teams would want.  He had a couple of really big offensive seasons and has enjoyed some playoff success which makes him attractive to a desperate team.
  2. Drew Stafford -  He is a restricted free agent that is likely to get a pretty heft raise after a 20 goal season.  The Sabres may not want to trade him away but may be forced to lie they did with Steve Bernier.
  3. Mark Mancari - He is also a restricted free agent and he has never been given much of a chance by Lindy Ruff.  He is a two-time AHL all-star that may be enough to get teams to give something back.
  4. Toni Lydman -  He is just one of the Sabres overpaid defensive players. Tallinder has fallen so far off the map that Lydman is tradeable by default.  He does block shots and plays a slightly physical game which could entice some team to take on his salary.
  5. Nathan Paetsch -  For no other reason than him not figuring into the Sabres plans.  He may be more likely to moved at the trade deadline.

There are some notable exceptions off of each of these lists.  Just based on conversations there are people that are ready to ship off Derek Roy, Tim Connolly and Jochen Hecht in a heartbeat.  News Flash!  Those players aren't going anywhere in the near future.

Derek Roy is possibly the Sabres best all-around player and he comes at a relatively cheap price.  Unless you can get a top six forward for under $4 million per season, Derek Roy is going nowhere.

Tim Connolly signed a two-year extension at the trade deadline.  They didn't sign him to ship him off in the off-season to free up salary.  He is also a good player at a relatively cheap cap hit.

The Sabres would probably love to trade away Jochen Hecht but what is the market for a 32 year-old defensive-forward that is coming off his worst season as a professional.  Throw in his $3.8 million salary this season and he becomes even less attractive.  I would be surprised if Jochen Hecht is not on this team on opening night.

The trade market has been weak so far wit only a few deals taking place in the last week or so.  As the trade market heats up, it is likely the Sabres would be a part of it.  Who do you think the Sabres will trade away?