If the Buffalo Sabres emerge from this gauntlet of the week in playoff contention, they might just make a sensible trade by the March 3rd deadline.
Just to be clear, don’t expect general manager Kevyn Adams to make a blockbuster trade. Sure, such trades could be exciting in foresight, but the ramifications can cost a young team dividends in hindsight.
That’s one of many reasons I listed a few high-profile names as the worst players the Blue and Gold could possibly trade for. Now that we outlined those that the Sabres would be better off passing on, let’s talk about a few of the best players they can bring in at a reduced rate.
1 – Boone Jenner, C/Columbus Blue Jackets
Initially, I had Tyler Bertuzzi penned in here, but since recent news has stated he will likely remain in Detroit, Jenner gets the nod here. He’s the type of player the Buffalo Sabres need, given his physical nature and his ability to win faceoffs. He would also help out on the penalty kill, something Buffalo desperately needs.
Jenner is currently playing for one of the NHL’s worst teams, and this may scare Adams away since the Columbus Blue Jackets will likely want some high-end compensation for the center. However, not at the same level as the San Jose Sharks would want for Timo Meier. His contract, however, is more than reasonable, carrying an AAV of $3.75 million through 2026.
2 – Luke Schenn, D
Schenn may be the most realistic trade of the three players listed. David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period implied a third-round pick and a mid-tier prospect may be all Adams (or anyone) would need to move for Schenn. He’s an older player, but with 258 hits this season, the Buffalo Sabres could put him onto the third pairing and let him go to work.
And if that’s the case, why not trade that third-round pick, someone like Erik Portillo, and even tack on Jacob Bryson for Schenn’s services? While he’s older, Schenn could provide sound leadership in the future if the Sabres let Captain Kyle Okposo and Alternate Captain Zemgus Girgensons walk after this season.
3 – Nick Bjugstad, C
Last week, I listed Bjugstad as one of the top three power forwards the Buffalo Sabres could realistically trade for by the March 3rd deadline. At 30, he would also be an older player, but like Schenn, Bjugstad could also provide leadership for what will still be a young Sabres team in 2023-24.
His game isn’t the flashiest, but Bjugstad’s physical style could add a new element to the Sabres game. Like Schenn, he wouldn’t cost much to flip, and he could be an excellent consolation if the asking price for Boone Jenner is too high.
(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)
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