Buffalo Sabres: Top 3 alternatives to Patrick Kane if winger doesn’t sign

It’s clear the Buffalo Sabres are in the Patrick Kane sweepstakes, but what if the winger signs elsewhere, as is the likely scenario?

The Buffalo Sabres have a chance to bring Patrick Kane into the fold, but at 7-9-1, Kane’s interest in signing with his hometown team may be dwindling. Therefore, there needs to be other options out there for the Blue and Gold to bring in help from the outside if and when Kane signs elsewhere.

Below, you’ll find three alternatives, two of which have come from the outside and one from within the organization, that the Sabres can pursue if they lose the Patrick Kane sweepstakes. And best yet, they could be negotiating with an old friend in the process.

3 alternatives for the Buffalo Sabres if Patrick Kane signs somewhere else

1 – Anthony Duclair

Lance Lysowski of Buffalo News mentioned Anthony Duclair, who is probably now wishing he ended up somewhere other than San Jose. And Duclair is a journeyman who likely wouldn’t mind going elsewhere if it meant playing for a team on the outside looking in like the Sabres instead of the rebuilding project in California.

While Duclair hasn’t been as effective in his first 34 regular season games since he missed most of last year with the Florida Panthers and Sharks, he is just a year removed from a 31-goal effort in 2021-22. Of those 31 goals, five were game-winners, and nine occurred on the power play. His contract expires following the 2023-24 season, so he wouldn’t block any prospects.

2 – Alexander Barabanov

Yep, another member of the San Jose Sharks and another effective piece on the power play. While Alexander Barabanov will be sidelined for another few weeks thanks to a finger injury, he has a manageable contract that expires following the 2023-24 season.

Barabanov is also effective on the power play, with 13 of his 47 points coming on the man advantage last season. Further, Barabanov wouldn’t get in the way of any prospects the Buffalo Sabres may want to call up given his expiring contract. He does, however, have a no-trade clause, so he would have to agree to waive it.

3 – Jiri Kulich/Isak Rosen

The Sabres could choose to call up Jiri Kulich or Isak Rosen, as they have both proven to be effective on the man advantage. Kulich is the likelier of the two, but Rosen’s growth since he arrived in North America seems to have no limits, so either choice would be a good one.

The obvious downside here is that neither player has NHL experience, and they would likely need an adjustment period in the early going. You can’t say the same for Duclair or Barabanov, and the latter two also won’t require a ransom to bring to the Buffalo Sabres.

Source: Roundtable: Debating the pursuit of Patrick Kane and the Sabres’ role in it by Mike Harrington and Lance Lysowski, Buffalo News

(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)