Posted 9:56 PM ET | Comments 5
There’s been a lot of trade talk recently, and the Sabres have been mentioned. How accurate these rumors are, I have no idea. However, I definitely think that a move or two may help Buffalo out.
As I’ve said, Buffalo needs to be aggressive in their own end. The recent call ups for Buffalo have done really well, and are playing excellent physical hockey. I’ve loved Brayden McNabb’s play as of late. He isn’t afraid to throw a few solid body checks and makes smart decisions with the puck. I’ve also been impressed with TJ Brennan and the time he has spent with the Sabres. Both defensemen have shown that they are willing to take shots on goal when playing the point, join the offensive rush, and also defend their own zone with authority. I’d much rather take those two on the back end than some of the current players.
I’ve also enjoyed watching Zack Kassian play and Paul Szczechura. Kassian isn’t afraid to go into the corners and fight for the puck. Plus, he is willing to defend his teammates. Kassian is the definition of a power forward. He’s got the potential to rack up a ton of points. I’d love to put him in front of the goalie on Buffalo’s 2nd power play unit. Szczechura has played solid hockey as well, and has made good decisions with the puck. Due to his forecheck against the Caps on 11/26, he helped cause the turnover that lead to Luke Adam’s first goal. I’ll miss him down in Rochester, but he’s shown that he’s a good strong forward.
I look forward to watching the latest call up, Joe Finley. He’s aggressive, and will play the type of hockey Buffalo needs in their own end. Plus, he won’t take any crap from his opponents.
The young guns have really stepped up (despite having 2 losses in the last 3 games).
However, I think a few trades need to be made. Right now, the only defensemen who are really playing physical in their own end are the young call ups, and Robyn Regher. Myers was improving in this regard leading up to his wrist injury. Ehrhoff is meant to be a more offensively minded defenseman. His play is slowly improving, and he’s starting to take more shots on goal. I don’t envy the Islander’s player who blocked his slap shot the other night.
I would keep Regher, Ehrhoff, Myers, and Leopold. Right now, Gragnani is not playing well and neither is Sekera. Trade time for them. Numerous teams need help with defense right now, and would probably offer decent players for Gragnani or Sekera. I’d also be willing to throw in one of the young Buffalo forwards in a deal as well. However, keep Kassian, without question, he stays put. I’d keep McNabb, Brennan, and Weber. The young kids for Buffalo are playing solid defense and are extremely aggressive. That’s the type of play Buffalo needs.
Finally, a trade will definitely make everyone realize that no one is safe, and that it’s time to deliver.
Now, what should Buffalo get in return...
Buffalo needs help offensively. Defensively, the answers are already on the ice for Buffalo. However, I think Buffalo needs a few things. Buffalo needs a 1-2 strong power forwards. Buffalo needs some players who aren’t afraid to go in and throw some body checks, and establish a strong forecheck. I’d also like to see that power forward(s) be capable of 30 goals. Buffalo needs a little more help on the offensive end. Plus, they need some well balanced lines. The good teams, the really good teams that are Cup contenders, don’t have 2 all-stars surrounded by mediocre players. They have 4 balanced lines that are capable of doing damage. Look at Chicago this year, they are the perfect example.
The benefit of picking up another strong scorer, is that Buffalo will have the depth they need, and the aggressiveness to no longer by the NHL’s whipping boy. I don’t have any specific player in mind, but they need someone who can put the puck in the back of the net. If Buffalo picks up that type of offensive forward, he will take the heat off players like Vanek, Roy, Stafford, Leino, and all the other forwards who should be putting the puck in the back of the net more often. It will open up Buffalo’s offense, and lead to balanced scoring.
What’s the likelihood of this happening? Slim to none. However, I think that Buffalo needs to keep the aggressive players called up from Rochester. The defense answers are in those players. As for offense, keep Kassian, and make a trade or two to bring in that big power forward that will tie the Sabres offense together.