With free agency coming to a halt and the remaining few big names being priced outside of Buffalo’s league I thought it is time to look at what’s available on the trade market for potential steals. I define a steal based on an earlier example in Sabres history. That trade being Chris Gratton for Daniel Briere. The Sabres found a kid who had tons of offensive upside but simply could not succeed in Pheonix’s gritty and rather chaotic system. Thus, as the names Selanne and Markov continue to bounce around I look to the silent players already under contract that could put Buffalo over the top once again.
1) Tuomo Ruutu
I know what you are thinking…..Why would Chicago give up such a promising young star. The answer can be found in the surge at center the Hawks currently find on their roster. Adding Lang and the arrival of Toews means that Ruutu finds himself perhaps no longer on the first two lines. His history of inconsistent play and injuries may make the Hawks eager to look at offers with his name on it. The Hawks have been rumored to be interested in Kalinin to shore up their defense and perhaps with the right addition Buffalo could package Kalinin and say Mike Ryan or a level 2 prospect to land this skilled Finish center man.
One might ask at this point…..Why does Buffalo want an underachieving injury prone player? One needs to realize that Ruutu did manage to play 72 games last year which means his health is getting better. His poor stats and lack of focus I would be willing to bet are the results of playing in Chicago, anyone who has watched the kid play internationally knows what level he can take his game. He offers Buffalo a tremendously skilled third line center to fill Briere’s previous spot. He loves to play aggressive and will not shy away from physical contact, something that Briere did at times. His raw skill has the potential to make him a star in this league. Playing in Buffalo, with fans packing the building and making a celebrity of him could be what the doctor ordered for Ruutu who has had problems focusing in Chicago. In my eyes this is a potential Briere steal in the works!! I feel in Buffalo Ruutu would get 70 points if he stayed healthy the whole year with the potential of breaking a 100 in the future with our systems emphasis on speed and skill.
2) Mark Giordano
The young defenseman from Calgary is a hidden gem for any team that has had to play against the sea of red. Being form the west coast I have had the pleasure of watching this kid step up and he plays exactly into the Sabres style. Fast and mobile but yet strong Giordano brings offensive flair and defensive responsibility to the table. Think of him as a Kalinin with his head on right. While many will argue that Sekera and Paetsch are enough young skilled D men for our team it is important to note Giordano’s defensive abilities. Growing in Calgary’s gritty style of hardnosed defensive hockey has shaped this young kid into a very responsible player. He has the potential to shape up into another Tallinder. With Calgary already full on the Blue line this kid could be had for cheap.
….be back with more later.