Help on the backend

We all seem to agree that the Sabres could use some help on defense. But how to acquire it? Free agency will be expensive and a quality experienced defender will cost Buffalo too much in assets. We still should draft a few defensemen in the 2023 draft but that help is years away. So I offer a more lowkey player option to acquire with high upside who has decent experience but is still very young.

Meet Cal Foote, the son of former great Adam Foote. He is in his third year as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning. He is 6 foot(e) 5 inches tall and about 225 pounds. A big solid defensemen who is just 24 years old. He has enough experience to step right in and play but lots of room to grow still. He is also a right shot. The reason he may be available is the fact that he is the 6th/7th dmen on a strong Lightning team. It's a numbers game for him, as Tampa mostly plays their veterans. He has only played in 21 games this year with 1 goal, 2 assists and a +4.

Foote is a former 1st round pick but seems to still be on the low end of the totem pole in talented Tampa. His size is great but he is not overly physical. But he will clear the crease and occasionally drop the gloves but he uses his big frame more for positioning and shielding out other players from the puck. His offensive output has been minimal in the NHL but that's not what he is about. He is young but still experienced with about 110 games under his belt. He is also extremely affordable, making about 750 grand this season but a new contract will be coming up soon for him. He brings sound defense, good size and some needed grit. I bet Granato could bring out the best in him.

The way I see it, Foote fits the Sabres timeline too. From Quinn and Peterka at 20 years old to Tuch at 26, those are our core guys and Foote slots right in between age wise.

Now Tampa is not giving him away for free but he should be available given his status as 6th/7th defenseman. But he is also a former first with strong lineage. The Sabres might have to overpay a bit. Then again we snagged a former first rounder for free in Jost so you never know.

Buffalo has THREE 2nd round picks this year. We might even have FOUR if Ryan Johnson walks. As much as it's nice to have draft capital, we are pretty stocked in the pipeline already and giving up a few assets to bring in a quality young player who can help now might be worth utilizing. I'm not making a formal trade proposal here but I think one or more of the 2nd rounders could be used, along with a player like Bryson perhaps. (who would be bumped out probably anyways) Feel free to suggest your own offer.

Foote would be a solid add to this lineup. Size, dependable play, decent physicality, all for an affordable price. (salary wise and trade cost) It's about time to start putting our best foot forward in regards to icing a strong team again. The bottom pair D is a weakness, it should be addressed soon. And if Foote progresses as much as I hope, he could be Power's partner soon enough and Joker could help solidify the bottom pairing instead.

So that is my suggestion for a pretty good option on D. I'm always scavenging around looking for players that could help us and he caught my eye.

This is a FanPost written by a member of the community. It does not necessarily express the views or opinions of Die By The Blade.