Yes, I think it’s time to look at who has value to ‘sell’, after that effort this weekend. There is still time to recover, but it’s growing short. 49 games left, but only 30 points in the standings in the first 33. It took 88 to make 8th last year in the East, but that was unusually low. It will probably take a few more than that, which seems problematic for this current cast of characters. So that means changes, and the decision to be a buyer or a seller.
For the purposes of this post, we are looking at ‘selling’. I covered ‘untouchable‘ players before the year, thought I am taking Goose off the list. I might even put Leopold and Roy on, considering their performances so far. Either way, here’s what i’m looking at for tradeable assets:
- Tim Connolly – He’s always going to top the list for a lot of people, and it’s understandable. We are tired of the injuries, the streaks, potential that never gets realized. He would have value, maybe, and his contract isn’t terrible closer to the deadline. He has to be healthy to move though, which is the biggest problem. By the way, shouldn’t they be putting in a steel honker for Timmy? Anyway, I don’t know anyone that would complain about him being gone, and most would be happy for whatever they get for him.
- Drew Stafford – This would be a case of selling high, as Angry Eyebrows is on a very favorable contract ($1.9mil expiring this year, RFA) for his production so far. Trading Drew would potentially open a wing spot for Zack Kassian next year while getting some return for another guy who has shown potential here but never really put it all together for any length of time.
- Craig Rivet – It honestly makes more sense for him then the team, you know he wants to play but just doesn’t seem likely to get back in barring a run of injuries. $3.5mil prorated would still be tough for a team to swallow for a d-man in the twilight of his career (who’s not cracking THIS lineup).
- Jochen Hecht – Has the complicating factor of another year left on a fairly hefty deal for a two-way forward who is underperforming. Seems more likely to go if the Sabres are trading for a player with salary coming back.
- Chris Butler – Sekera has to be safe, in my mind, as Myers’s new partner. I get the feeling Butler is on borrowed time, if there was someone that was trusted more to slide into his spot (which is not Rivet).
I’m honestly not sure what to do about Enroth, as no one would want Lalime, and anyone else that left would be a spare part for spare part deal, not any sort of change that would fix the culture/shake up the incumbents. Same thing for trading prospects – there may be fantastic deals to be made, but that doesn’t fix the team next year. All of this also assumes the long-term deal guys stay, which I find extremely likely (Miller, Vanek, Pominville, and probably Myers after this year).
There are two things that could shift the focus from selling players for picks/prospects. One would be the Sabres going on a big-time winning streak…and the other is Terry Pegula. He is the wild card, no doubt about it. He could complete the sale and decide to set a bomb off in the locker room, wiping out coaches, GMs, players, the whole nine yards. I know some of you are hoping for that, and to be honest I wouldn’t get upset if it happened. What that would mean, though is giving up on this year AND next, unless you think the young players and newly acquired talent would mesh immediately with a potential new coach.
I still have hope that this team figures it out and makes these rambling thoughts moot. The rational part of me has serious doubts.