The NHL trade deadline is now under a week away; February 26 is approaching rapidly, and it seems likely the Buffalo Sabres will ship away at least one player.
Barring any crazy moves by Jason Botterill and co., here’s a look at some Sabres players who could be on their way out in the next week - and some who likely won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.
Shipping Out to… Who Knows Where?
Kane has been the name tossed around most in trade rumors regarding the Sabres this season, and maybe for good reason.
Through 60 games, the left winger has 19 goals and 20 assists for 39 points. That includes eight points on the man advantage and three shorthanded goals.
Kane is going to be an unrestricted free agent after this season and is earning $5.25 million this year. Any team who would trade for him would likely be looking for an offensive piece in the crunch for the playoff push (and subsequently, the playoffs). He could be a rental player for a team on the edge of that playoff picture, and then could either re-sign with that team or sign elsewhere in the offseason, which always makes it a little risky.
Either way, it seems almost certain that Kane isn’t going to re-sign with the Sabres, as there have reportedly been no talks between Buffalo and his camp - so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him moved before the deadline. The only downfall here is that the market isn’t exactly lacking for left-wingers, but we’ll see what Botterill can get for him if he moves.
Like Kane, Gorges’ name has also popped up in trade rumors around the league, including potential interest by the Blues.
Gorges is not an offensive defenseman by any means, and he hasn’t been Buffalo’s best blueliner this season. He’s also 33, which doesn’t exactly make him a spring chicken.
Also like Kane, Gorges is in the last year of his contract. He’s making $3.9 million this year and becomes a UFA in the summer, so again, he could be a rental player for a team making a push or one facing injuries.
If Gorges does get moved, don’t be surprised if the Sabres agree to eat some of his salary.
Girgensons was once a pretty highly-touted prospect, but he just hasn’t really lived up to that potential here in Buffalo. He’s only 24 and is under contract through next season, so any team that trades for him would have him for at least a little bit longer.
Girgensons is making $1.6 million this season and is set to earn that same amount next year before he becomes a restricted free agent.
This season, the former NHL All-Star has put up 11 points (6-5) in 54 games. His career-high is 30 points (15-15), which he reached way back in the 2014-15 season.
The Question Mark
Lehner is one curious name around the trade deadline this year for the Sabres. Will he get moved, or won’t he? Just a few days ago, it seemed pretty likely, and the Flyers, with all their injury troubles, seemed a likely contender for his next home. However, with the Flyers acquiring Petr Mrazek from the Detroit Red Wings that door has been closed.
Now, things seem less certain. The Sabres announced Monday that Lehner is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, and he didn’t back up Chad Johnson in Monday’s matinee. We’ll have to wait and see what happens Thursday in Detroit, and beyond that.
Does Lehner’s potential injury hurt the possibility of a trade? Maybe - it depends how bad it is, but the fact that it’s only considered day-to-day might help.
The 26-year-old has gone 12-22-0-8 this season with a 2.95 GAA and .910 save percentage. He’s earning $4 million this season and is set to become a restricted free agent this summer.
Staying In (Probably)
Although stranger things have happened, I don’t expect Jason Botterill to move Sam Reinhart out of Buffalo unless there’s a real juicy return coming back the other way.
Aside from Jack Eichel, Sam Reinhart is one of the Sabres’ top talents and should be around for a while. He will be a restricted free agent this summer and is earning $894,167 this season, and I expect Buffalo to re-sign him.
The 22-year-old has 13 goals and 17 assists this season for 30 points in 60 games. Last season, he put up a career-high 47 points, including a career-high 30 assists, in 79 games.
Since joining the Sabres earlier this season, Scott Wilson has been a pleasant surprise on the Buffalo offense. Heading into Thursday’s game, Wilson has three goals in the last six games; he’s also added two assists in that stretch.
The 25-year-old has notched 10 points (5-5) in 47 games this season between Buffalo and Detroit, but all 10 of those points have come since he was traded to the Sabres in early December (a stretch of 27 games).
Wilson’s contract is up at the end of this season, but I wouldn’t expect the Sabres to try to move him at the deadline. The left winger is earning $625,000 this season and will be a restricted free agent this summer.
So who will go, and who will stay? The Sabres have just under a week before the trade deadline, so keep your eyes peeled to see what moves Botterill and co. make.