I'll make a prediction right now and say I will be surprised if anything major happens at the trade deadline regarding the Buffalo Sabres. This means, I'm not expecting an Evander Kane blockbuster trade for a hotshot defenseman. I'm not expecting Sam Reinhart being traded for a player like Noah Hanifin. These are more deals that would be better suited to happen at the offseason, and at this point, I think I would be pretty upset if Evander Kane was traded. What I am expecting from the trade deadline would be a trade of captain Brian Gionta to a team looking for a rental, as well as Dmitry Kulikov. Both Kulikov and Gionta are on TSN's top 25 tradebait list.
Now, although I'd be surprised if the Sabres pick up a significant player at the deadline, there are still options for the team to look at heading into the offseason.
Mike Green has not been as openly rumored to be available for the Red Wings the same way that Thomas Vanek has been, but given the Red Wings place in the standings, it would not be surprising if he was moved at the trade deadline, or even in the offseason. Green is one of the Red Wings best trade chips, so he will command a nice return of picks and prospects to a team like the Wings that needs to rebuild.
I don't think he will command anything near what Keith Yandle got when the Rangers acquired him from the Coyotes given his age, and the fact that he has even more limitations defensively than Yandle had. He will be 32 at the start of next season, but he will realistically command a package of second and third round picks and prospects. I would not be surprised if someone offered a conditional projected late first to acquire him. Mike Green would be longer term rental for the Sabres if acquired at the deadline or in the offseason, and this could work for the Sabres simply because he fills a need, and has one year left on his contract at six million. The Sabres need another defenseman to generate offense, and in actuality, they need pretty much anyone who can generate offense.
He also gives them flexibility. With Jack Eichel, Evander Kane, and Sam Reinhart all due for raises at the end of the '17-18 season, Green's expiring contract after '17-18 will not handcuff them to long term financial commitments the same way that a top UFA this offseason like Kevin Shattenkirk would. He also could help them next season with getting into the playoffs, and would help generate offense from the blueline. Ristolainen and Green would form a rock solid 1-2 punch commanding separate units on the powerplay, and at even strength in the offensive zone. He has 10 goals, 26 points this season. Green has also recorded 8 goals, and 19 points at even strength, in comparison to Ristolainen who has 13 of his 31 points at even strength, which are solid numbers for both players.
Right now, Cam Fowler will cost a lot to trade for. Shea Theodore or Brandon Mountour would be impossible for the Sabres to deal for unless they were willing to part with someone like Sam Reinhart. Attempting to sign a player Kevin Shattenkirk may not be best for the team's financials long term. Even a player like Calvin De Haan will cost a lot of assets. I do think eventually, with a little time, Cam Fowler could be moved next offseason if it becomes apparent that the Ducks will not be able to extend him. I suspect the Ducks will try to get forward help.
It should be noted that Green has a no trade clause. The Sabres do own a pair of seconds and thirds for 2017's draft, and could acquire more at the deadline in other trades. I would probably stay away from trading a first round pick for Green. If the Sabres can possibly get a player like Green for a package of second, thirds, and a prospect, the Sabres should take a look at the right price for a potential 1 year rental to help get the Sabres back into the playoffs.