So the deadline trading isn’t up yet, and this piece may be outdated by this afternoon, but I thought the Sabres recent pickup of Brad Boyes creates a great topic of conversation and speculation.
What, oh what, do they do next? Here’s a couple thoughts.
The Sabres have picked up a player that has scored in the past, is a playmaker now, and can play the center position. I’ll leave the deeper analysis of Brad Boyes to others, because I want to concentrate on what comes next. I’ve heard it stated already that Boyes is a “replacement” for Tim Connolly, who is a free agent this offseason while the current pickup is under contract for next year. If that’s so, are the Sabres better off keeping Tim and pushing into the playoffs? Or should they try to move him?
The way I see it, there’s no reason the Sabres have to keep Tin Foil Connolly in order to push to the playoffs. We saw last year how little Connolly can do in the post-season. 6 games, 1 assist. So I don’t really need to see him again this year, and I don’t think he helps the offense whatsoever. So go ahead and plug Boyes right in his spot, keep Hecht at #2 because that’s the best we’ve got, and try to address the gaping hole on the team: a stay at home defenseman.
Possible buyers for Connolly:
- The Capitals have Nicklas Backstrom and their next best center is Marcus Johansson. They could use a utility playmaker to center the #2 line between Laich and Bradley/Semin/Knuble.
- The Penguins are an odd possibility. On one hand, they’ve got a ton of talent at center between Jordan Stall, Tyler Kennedy (currently lower body injury), and Maxime Talbot. But Crosby might be done for the season and Malkin definitely is.
- The Sabres would most likely want to trade to the Western Conference, though, and there are possibilities with LA, Nashville, and Calgary.
Basically, a team that’s looking to add depth to the center position that is currently in a playoff position (sorry, Colorado). What exactly do you aim to get for Connolly? ANYTHING YOU CAN! And what can the Sabres do with whatever they get for him (probably a 2nd or 3rd round pick)? Shore up the defense.
When the Sabres pick up a D-man who’s better than Steve Montador (not a knock against him, just a bar to measure with), I’ll listen to anybody talk about going deep into the playoffs. John-Michael Liles might be a bit of a reach, but Adam Foote would add some grit and depth. So would Steve Staios. Basically a veteran who can be counted on to play responsible, consistent, and yes even boring defense. It’s something the team has been lacking all year, and it’s a reason why they’ve allowed more goals (cough cough, I miss Toni Lydman).
Tags: Boyes Brad Boyes Buffalo Sabres Calgary Flames Center Connolly Defense Defensemen Eastern Conference Fansided Free Agency Hockey Jordan Stall LA Kings Marcus Johansson Maxime Talbot Nashville Predators NHL Nicklas Backstrom Northeast Division Pittsburgh Penguins Sabres St. Louis Blues Stanley Cup Stanley Cup Playoffs Steve Montador Terry Pegula Tim Connolly Toni Lydman Trade Trade Deadline Tyler Kennedy Washington Capitals