We are just hours away from the 2016 NHL Trade Deadline, and the Buffalo Sabres once again are going to be major sellers. If GM Tim Murray doesn’t see any players on the current roster who are UFA’s come July as part of the teams future, than there is no doubt they will be on the move. Here are my predictions on Trade Deadline Day for the Buffalo Sabres.
Since the start of the season, McGinn has been one of the Sabres most consistent forwards scoring 14 goals and 13 assists for 27 points. He plays an aggressive and fast paced game that will attract many teams. McGinn is set to become a UFA in July and will be on the move.
My prediction is that the Anaheim Ducks or LA Kings may be in on the forward. The current asking price for McGinn is a 2nd round pick. However, if McGinn is traded to the Ducks, things could get interesting. The Sabres are in need of a top four defenseman and the Ducks are willing to part ways with either Cam Fowler or Sami Vatanen. Buffalo will probably have to throw a mid or late round pick in as well, but there is definitely some potential for a trade between these two teams.
One of the biggest surprises for the Sabres this season has been the play of goaltender Chad Johnson. In 33 appearances, Johnson is 14-14-1 with a 2.45 GAA and a .917 save percentage. Teams in need of a backup goalie may be willing to part ways with a 2nd or 3rd round pick to acquire the veteran goalie.
My prediction is that the Sabres will keep Johnson, and sign him to a one-year extension before free agency. Linus Ullmark has mightily struggled in the AHL, and still needs time to develop. Johnson has proven that he is a very reliable goalie in the NHL, and will be with the blue and gold for another season.
Despite being currently injured, Ennis is close to returning and can be a very valuable asset to any team. Ennis is one of the fastest players in the league and knows how to score goals. Lots of teams will be interested in adding the veteran forward.
My prediction is that Ennis will remain with the Sabres; however, could be dealt come draft time. Multiple teams have expressed interest in the forward, and despite reports he may be close to returning, there is no guarantee that he suits up anytime soon. However, if a team is desperate enough, Murray will not hesitate in trading Ennis.
Many teams wanting to make a Cup run could use a defenseman like Josh Gorges. In fact, many teams have been scouting the veteran over the course of the past month. Gorges is a great shot blocker and penalty killer and can be a valuable asset to any team.
My prediction is that the Sabres will keep Gorges; however, if they get an offer they like, they will have no issues in trading the defensive defenseman.
Another player being thrown around in trade rumours is Cody Franson. Although he is having an up and down season, Franson can be an asset on the power play and offensively for any team.
My prediction is that the Sabres will try to trade Franson and look for a 2nd round selection in return. There may be a few teams looking to add depth to their blue line who are willing to pay the price.
The final player on the Sabres roster garnering interest is Marcus Foligno. Foligno adds size and toughness and could be a quality 4th liner on a contending team.
My prediction is that Tim Murray doesn’t see Foligno as part of the future and will try and trade the forward. Foligno could be a nice fit for the Kings or Ducks looking to add depth on their fourth lines.
Players whom the Sabres may target:
Although this seems like a long shot, the Sabres are one of the final teams in the mix for Jonathan Drouin, and unlike most teams, the Sabres have the assets in which the Lightening are looking for. Could Murray get a deal done by offering Mark Pysyk or Jake McCabe and a 2nd round pick for Drouin?
Cam Fowler or Sami Vatanen
The Ducks are stacked with young defenseman and are looking to make a trade. The Sabres are in dire need of some top four defenseman, and could turn to the Ducks and make a trade. Murray should look to offer McGinn and a 3rd round selection for either Fowler or Vatanen, as the trade would work out for both teams.
The trade deadline is just hours away, and it will be interesting to see what Murray can orchestrate on deadline day. As always, this day is so unpredictable, so hopefully fans will be in for a fun day filled with blockbuster trades!