Welcome to the time of the NHL migration; when NHL players everywhere run away to local rinks, try to focus on training while praying that their phone doesn't ring and inform them that they need to start finding housing in a whole new city. The Sabres are expected, one way or another, to move on from a few key players in an effort to give their rebuild a jump start.
This offseason will be dominated by headlines highlighting players like Ryan O'Reilly or Robin Lehner who are currently believed to be moving on to other teams this offseason. Debates will also rage about players like Ristolainen and Reinhart, young players with huge upside that could fetch a very nice return. But the top guys are unlikely to be the only ones moving on, in what is expected to be a busy offseason for GM Botterill.
I want to focus now on guys who are currently flying under the trade radar. There are a number of guys with some value who could be shipped out as part of a trade. Which dark horse candidate do you think could be moving on via trade?
Marco Scandella: He wasn't that bad as we sometimes thought he was. He wasn't as good as we were hoping he would be. But he's not prohibitively expensive, provides some offense and isn't bad in his own zone. For a team looking for help on its middle-pair, they could do worse.
Jason Pominville: A bottom-6 winger, who is good for 30-40 points and could fill out a 2nd PP line nicely. His salary is prohibitive, but with the promise of salary retention there could be quite a bit of interest in his services from teams in the playoff hunt.
Evan Rodrigues: A young guy, entering his prime, who has already produced at the NHL level. The former UDFA could bring immediate value back in a trade, as guys who play both C/W, are cheap, and could potentially score 40+ points are valuable to teams. He could bring a nice return to the Sabres if someone thinks he could grow into a middle-6 role.
Zemgus Girgensons: He has had a lot of issues living up to his rookie season, but still has managed to carve out a top-6 role on this team. That unfortunately didn't translate in more points, but still showed he still has a place in the NHL. He wouldn't bring much in a return, but his low cap hit and relative youth (only 24) should make him a decent sweetener in any trade package the Sabres may throw together this offseason.
***Caveat*** Please note I kept it to players who are expected to be on the NHL roster next season, which eliminated players like Nylander or Borgen, who may have decent trade value but are still in the "prospect" part of their careers. Also, I avoided players like Bogosian/Beaulieu, who we all want to trade and have discussed constantly since even last offseason.