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Trade Rumor Dissection: Nathan Horton for Drew Stafford

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With the offseason being the slowest of the news cycles, crazy trade rumors start to pop up and get some legs.  This one started a few days ago.   Nathan Horton for Drew Stafford.  

Nathan Horton

#16 / Right Wing / Florida Panthers



May 29, 1985

G A P +/- PIM
2008 - Nathan Horton 22 23 45 -5 48

Nathan Horton has played for the Panthers for five seasons and is coming off a down season with 45 points.  Horton is signed with the Panthers until 2012-13 with a cap hit of $4 million per season.  He has averaged .34 goals/game and .667 points/game over his career.  Horton was fourth on the Panthers in points and second on the team in goals.  He has plenty of upside considering that he has played five seasons and is only 24.  He could continue at this level for a few more years and another fresh face for the Sabres would not be terrible. 

Drew Stafford

#21 / Right Wing / Buffalo Sabres



Oct 30, 1985

G A P +/- PIM
2008 - Drew Stafford 20 25 45 3 29

Drew Stafford came off the same 45 point season as Horton had but played in twelve more games.  Stafford eclipsed the twenty goal mark for the first time in three seasons with the Sabres and averages .267 goals/game and .597 points/game over his career.  Stafford will turn 24 this season and has the same type of potential that Horton has with two less seasons under his belt.  More seasoning could turn Stafford into an elite player or he could stay a consistent 15-20 goal scorer per season.  

Considering that the Sabres could resign Stafford for roughly $2-2.5 million a year, they would need to send something else back to the Panthers to be able to pick up the Horton contract.  If we were able to deal either Lydman or Tallinder in the process it would open up the cap space and the roster spot for some of our young defensemen to step up and show what they are worth.  

If the Sabres could get this deal done it would be another good deal done by Darcy.  Will it likely happen though, probably not.