Once again, the Buffalo Sabres had a very active trade deadline day. For the past few years, they've been one of the biggest sellers in the NHL, shipping out franchise stalwarts like Brian Campbell, Ryan Miller, Jason Pominville, Drew Stafford, and Tyler Myers, as well as anyone with an expiring contract.
But if all goes according to plan, this deadline day could be their last as sellers.
The Sabres made a number of deals today, sending off any and all UFAs for some small returns and to solidify their chances at 30th place. Here's a rundown of everyone shipped out, and everything brought back at this year's trade deadline.
Chris Stewart - MIN
Michal Neuvirth - NYI
Brian Flynn - MTL
Torrey Mitchell - MTL
G Chad Johnson
F Jack Nevins (21 year old AHL forward)
2nd round pick (MIN, 2017)
3rd round pick (NYI, 2016)
5th round pick (MTL, 2016)
7th round pick (MTL, 2016)
There's two interesting things that jump out to me at the this year's deadline. First, this is Tim Murray putting the tank into overdrive. With Arizona selling pieces like crazy and closing the gap on 30th place, the Sabres traded Neuvirth for a goaltender who has a GAA of 3.08 and a save percentage of .889 this season. Aside from Johnson, they didn't get any NHL players in return, forcing them to replace players like Stewart and Flynn with guys from Rochester like Tim Schaller and possibly Mikhail Grigorenko if he's healthy enough. Their offense has taken a hit.
The second thing that jumped out at me has to do with the draft picks the Sabres got in return - all of them are for the 2016 or 2017 draft. Some people might be angry that Murray didn't get more for next season, but I actually think it's smart how he spread out the Sabres draft assets to ensure a big haul not just this season, but for the following two years as well. The Sabres have drafted so many guys over the past few years that they'll be facing a logjam of prospects at some point, and spreading things out will only help ensure the long-term success of the rebuild.
The Sabres have spent the last three years shipping guy out of town, and in just a few months, if all goes according to plan, they'll be finally bringing in someone who could help change all that. As we wrap up what is likely the final Sabres trade deadline as sellers, let us know what you think of how it all went down.