Potential Sabres Trade Deadline Moves
In the midst of a terrible season, the Buffalo Sabres have a bevy of assets available at their disposal. With a top 3 pick already locked up in this years draft, the Sabres should be either signing or moving anyone not under contract for next season.
Early in the season, the Buffalo Sabres traded pending unrestricted free agent Thomas Vanek to the New York Islanders for Matt Moulson, another pending unrestricted free agent, a 2015 second round pick, and first round pick in either 2014 or 2015, depending on where the Islanders finish this season. Currently the Islanders would have the 5th pick. Despite the 2015 draft expected to be much stronger than 2014, I would expect the Islanders to keep anything in the top 5.
The first player available is Matt Moulson. He is nursing an upper body injury, but is expected to be fine after the Olympic break. He is a multi-time 30 goal scorer on a very reasonable contract, so he should have many suitors. Anything less than a 1st round pick for Moulson would be an extreme underpayment. I would expect the Sabres to look for a 1st round pick in 2015, but settle for a 2014 first round pick and a mid round pick, prospect or player. I believe that Anaheim and Los Angeles will be very strong in the Moulson sweepstakes. With Anaheim having 2 first round picks in 2014 as a result of the Bobby Ryan trade, a trade with them seems especially probable.
Steve Ott is the captain of the Sabres, which generally means he will be traded or sign with someone else. He has some decent offensive ability, kills penalties, plays with a lot of grit, wins faceoffs and shows leadership. I expect the Sabres to strongly look to resign Ott, however if they cannot reach a deal before the deadline, he will be moved. Ott should also be able to draw a 1st round pick as well, however the demand will probably be higher for Moulson.
The most significant player for the Sabres is their franchise goalie and former Vezina winner Ryan Miller. Miller's has not agreed to a contract yet, meaning he will most likely look to be moved. It is not easy to move a goalie, as a team must be willing to give something up in order to get back what may be only minimal help to the team. If the Sabres find a partner that really wants Ryan Miller, he will fetch a large return, including most likely a first round pick and prospect. The way the Sabres organization has been talking, Miller will be moved for almost anything.
Other potential players that may be traded include Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford, as well as prospects Mark Pysyk, Brayden McNabb and Mikhail Grigorenko.
New Sabres GM Tim Murray has stated that he is openly looking for 2015 first-round draft picks.