Hello Sabre Nation, this is a guide for our trade deadline possibilities. I will do this blog for potential forwards only. Many are very similar, but here are some minor descriptions of their game. Thanks for viewing and I hope you enjoy.
It is more than likely the Buffalo Sabres will look to improve their roster at the trade deadline on March 3rd or before (Olympic break) and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see what aspects we may need to improve on. One aspect that would benefit almost every team in the NHL is experience. Even though most of our players have been through long playoff runs, we still could add a little bit of leadership/experience. It would certainly help to say the least. Bill Guerin and Doug Weight are perfect examples of this. Another category is physicality. It is a common category that would benefit most teams and it wouldn't hurt the Sabres to add to that department for the long playoff run. In order to win the cup, you must learn to sacrifice the body. If guys like Pominville and Hecht don't, then this category becomes more important than every other besides scoring.
The next category we must focus on is forward scoring. It would really help this team if we could add one more top six forward. To help this team out for not having a superstar, another 20 goal scorer would justify everything. The next category is power play. Our power play has been inconsistent throughout the season and even though at times it has shown promise, we still could use an upgrade. The fifth category that we must consider is face-offs. Our faceoff percentage is very mediocre with the exception of Gausted. Another man that controls the dot would be a great addition.
So the question is, who is available that helps all of these categories?
There are six centers to consider. The list is SAKU KOIVU, MATT STAJAN, ERIC BELANGER, MATT CULLEN, JEFF HALPERN, and ROD BRIND’AMOUR. KOIVU would add to every single category of need. He is the ideal rent-a-player for the Sabres, his contract is affordable, and he is good friends with our leader Rivet. Stajan is also a great addition. He doesn’t add experience or much leadership, but he certainly gives us more fire power. BELANGER is one of my personal favorites. He adds a little bit of everything and is a “Lindy Ruff” type of player. He is also on record to have his best season yet. He is the perfect 3rd line center and I would compare him to a Chris Drury for those of you unfamiliar with him. CULLEN is another very well-rounded centre man, who offers a lot. He isn’t my favorite man on the list though because he might be a little too "finesse" for what this team is looking for. HALPERN is similar to Goose, but I don’t think he would provide enough offensively. ROD is past his prime in my opinion, but he will definitely be available, and I bet more than one team will be interested as we all know what he used to be able to do.
Another center that we should all keep an eye on is Matt Lombardi. I know for a fact that the Sabres have always coveted him. For the right price, even in a playoff run, the Coyotes might deal him knowing that they won’t be able to retain him in the offseason. He is the perfect addition for any team looking for extra energy/speed/scoring. He provides it all!
Now to the other forwards, the wingers.
In my opinion we would benefit from acquiring a center more than anything else, but for those of you that want a winger, here you go.
RAFFI TORRES, ETHAN MOREAU, FERNANDO PISANI, RAY WHITNEY, TEEMU SELANNE, OWEN NOLAN, PETR SYKORA, KEITH TKACHUK, PAUL KARIYA and JERE LEHTINEN.
TORRES is a major physical presence who could add some scoring help as well. MOREAU is a great leader from Edmonton and he is extremely tough. His scoring is at a minimal at this point in his career though. PISANI is not as physical, but he is another body that can help in a playoff run. WHITNEY would be a huge addition, but I don’t believe he will come as cheap as the other deadline rentals will. We might have to give up a second and a MacArthur to get the deal done. He definitely knows how to play in the playoffs though, as he really was the main contributor along with Eric Staal last year for the Canes long run. SELANNE is probably the most popular guy on the list. I know for a fact that he will add scoring and a lot to the power play. I question if Selanne would be willing to go so far away from Anaheim though and plus, Selanne doesn’t add the physicality we might need for the playoffs. NOLAN is another veteran. He is a very tough winger who is as experienced as anyone and has been a captain before. He is someone who you can rely on at the end of games to get the job done. Not to mention he is on pace for another 20 goal season. SYKORA is another experienced veteran, who helped Pittsburgh two years ago. He is clutch, but he is clearly past his prime. TKACHUK is a bigger left winger who is still producing decent numbers and still providing grit to the Blues second line. He can also play center which is another plus. His teammate KARIYA is a much more finesse player, who is nowhere near the player he once was. With the Blues struggling this year, they will try to move their bigger salaries, and therefore the price should come cheap for teams making a deal. Finally, LEHTINEN is an older winger that provides experience to the forwards. He won the cup with Dallas many years ago and he continues to battle hard today. He used to be a 20-goal guy, but now he doesn’t provide anything more than we already have in Grier, etc.
Three you go, I hope you enjoyed. So who do you want? More names will come along as we move closer, but these guys are definitely some to consider!
BY: SabresOnAWarpath/Joey Pezzino
Edit: Forget Stajan