I believe we all remember when things got crazy a few years ago when Steven Stamkos was about to hit the open market. The Buffalo Sabres ended up being one of only three teams to get a meeting with the star center.
Eventually, Stamkos ruined all the fun by returning to the Tampa Bay Lightning on a pretty team friendly deal.
Well, as you may know, another big fish is set to hit the open market this summer. John Tavares is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Unlike Stamkos, a lot of people believe that Tavares will end up leaving his current team the New York Islanders.
We’ve had a mention of the Sabres being a landing spot by Pierre McGuire a month or so ago during a radio spot in Montreal. That was brushed off because Tavares is looking for a team that gives him the opportunity to win. The last place team in the NHL doesn’t fit that requirement.
It appears things may have changed now that the Sabres won the NHL Draft Lottery and hold the top pick which will likely turn into defenseman Rasmus Dahlin.
When you add Dahlin to a core of Rasmus Ristolainen, Sam Reinhart, Jack Eichel and Casey Mittelstadt, all of sudden Buffalo doesn’t look so bad. It’s also close to his hometown of Toronto and don’t forget about lacrosse legend John Tavares who played his entire career in Buffalo, that happens to be the uncle of Tavares the hockey player.
Those are a few things that Gord Miller pointed out among others as reasons that the Sabres could be a landing spot for the star center.
They’d need to move some money around and it’ll almost certainly signal the end of Ryan O’Reilly’s tenure in Buffalo. Having said all that it’s not cost prohibitive for them to take part in the JT sweeps. It’ll probably cost them $10 to 11 million a year over the next six years at least. A hefty price, but a very nice piece to add alongside Eichel.
It certainly adds another interesting storyline to the offseason. You can hear the comment from Miller below: