We’re less than two months away from the February 25 NHL Trade Deadline. The Buffalo Sabres probably won’t go looking for the big fish this year. However, they’ll be in the playoff race down the stretch and Jason Botterill can find some buy-low options to help his club.
The Sabres could use help in the bottom-six of their roster and on the right side of their defense group. Fortunately, there are a few players who fit the mold of buy low assets that can make an impact in the push for the playoffs.
The Edmonton Oilers 2016 fourth overall pick has not lived up to expectations yet and could be on the block. He’s been up and down between the NHL and AHL for the last two seasons. Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli is feeling the pressure of another disappointing season to this point. Entering play yesterday they were five points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
Desperate for a spark, Chiarelli, made a few moves on Monday for two defensemen in Alex Petrovic and Brandon Manning. Both deals were your classic questionable Chiarelli deal.
If the Oilers miss the playoffs again this season his job could be in jeopardy. Puljujarvi could be the last move of desperation to bring in some talent to spark his team for a final push. Elliotte Friedman in his 31 Thoughts today noted that the “future is uncertain” for the 20-year-old Finn and that the Oilers may not be done making moves.
Puljujarvi has struggled to produce consistently at the NHL level. He has two goals and five points in 28 games this season. For his career, he’s scored 16 goals and 33 points in 121 NHL games.
He may never turn into the player that he was expected to be as a top-five pick. Having said that, if the deal is right, he’s the type of player that Botterill should be looking to acquire. With his value so low, it may be cheaper than you’d think to trade for Puljujarvi. Especially when you consider you’re dealing with Chiarelli.
Burakovsky appears to have fallen out of favor in D.C. with the Washington Capitals. The 23-year-old Austrian has found himself as a healthy scratch a few times this season.
The former first-round pick can bring some speed and skill to the bottom of the Sabres lineup if they want to bring him in. Burakovsky isn’t going to fill the net as a bottom-six left-winger, but he can add some secondary scoring. His career high of 17 goals came in the 2015-16 season. He scored at a 17 goal pace last season with 12 in 56 games for the Stanley Cup Champions.
This season his goal production has dipped with limited playing time with the Capitals. He has five goals and eight points in 34 games.
Chris Johnston of Sportsnet reported a few weeks ago that the Vancouver Canucks were interested in young forward. Thus giving the impression that he’s available for the right price. He shouldn’t cost a lot to acquire and could be a nice low-key addition to the bottom of the lineup.
Ferland isn’t a buy low option as he’s having a good year for the Carolina Hurricanes, but he’s a under the radar move the Sabres should explore if he becomes available. Friedman mentioned in his 31 Thoughts today that there have been talks of an extension, but there’s still not a deal. He’s set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Ferland would fall into the rental category with his contract expiring, but he wouldn’t cost the Sabres one of their coveted first-rounders in a trade.
The 26-year-old has 11 goals and 17 points in 31 games this season. Following up a strong season last year with the Calgary Flames scoring 21 goals in 77 games. The 2010 fifth-round pick has been a solid bottom-six contributor over the last few years and has the ability to move up the lineup in an injury situation.
He goes to the dirty areas in front of the net to score and uses his size to his advantage on the walls. Ferland has some impressive possession numbers as well that go along with his goal production. The Hurricanes are the advanced stats darlings of the NHL, but Ferland had impressive numbers last year with the Flames as well.
He could be just what the Sabres need to add some scoring depth to their lineup for the final stretch of the season. We’ll see how the contract situation plays out with the Hurricanes over the next month.
We’ll continue to look at options as we get closer to February, but if the Sabres are looking to buy low and maximize their assets, these three players could fit what Botterill is looking for.