I believe most of us who contribute here have come to realize by now GMKA is sticking to the plan. And I appreciate and look forward to what the plan has produced thus far. The Sabres do however, have a small window here during which we can both stay the course AND add a veteran presence.
Let's get creative:
VGK to BUF: Shea Theodore, Laurent Brossoit, 2023 3rd (ours)
NYI to BUF: Semyon Varlamov
BUF to NYI: Laurent Brossoit (50% retained)
BUF to VGK: Semyon Varlamov (50% retained), maybe a late rounder in 2024 or 2025
BUF: I know, I know...Theodore is another left stick defenseman. He is also a former first round pick who is a career .56 ppg and plus 48 AND carries a team friendly cap hit for three more seasons (no NMC/NTC either). In his years with Vegas he has played 79, 71, 53, 78, so he is also pretty durable. He is a veteran in his prime with a lot of playoff experience. Varlamov and Brossoit each have one season remaining, our retained cap hit...3.6625M.
VGK: Kelly McCrimmon needs a goaltender, BAD! He is also in cap trouble with the season rapidly approaching. While I am not a capologist, the calculator on my phone tells me this puts Vegas in a much better position. Add to the cap relief the fact Vegas has a couple top D prospects in the wings, and it's no harm no foul. Lehner will also hit LTIR when the season starts.
NYI: Given his position against the cap, Barzal's contract, Sorokin, and the Isles lack of goal scoring, Lou still has to make a move or two. Another 4M in cap space gives him a shot at Kessel or another decent forward if he can move Bailey out. Varlamov does have an MNTC, but if he knows he isn't going to be resigned on the island AND he will be a #1 again, I think he waives. Brossoit is a serviceable #2 who slides neatly into Lou's depth chart and will be cheap to resign a year from now.
In this scenario, we are lending a huge helping hand to Vegas, so I wouldn't offer the pick unless it is absolutely necessary to close the deal for Theodore. We do have to recoup our 3rd for our cap space services as next year's draft is expected to be deep.
What do you think?
Thanks for reading!