3 more blockbuster trade options for the Sabres in the 2024 offseason

The Buffalo Sabres need to find either a top-six winger or a depth center in either free agency or the trade market, so let’s focus on the latter.
Nov 3, 2023; Buffalo, New York, USA;  Philadelphia Flyers left wing Joel Farabee (86) skates up ice
Nov 3, 2023; Buffalo, New York, USA; Philadelphia Flyers left wing Joel Farabee (86) skates up ice / Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
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Anthony Cirelli is the ultimate dark horse for the Sabres

You may be shocked to see Anthony Cirelli listed, but he’s been part of the rumor mill since the first of the year, and that hasn’t eased up just yet. We also know Priorities No. 1 and No. 2 for the Tampa Bay Lightning will include bringing back Steven Stamkos and extending Victor Hedman, albeit to smaller contracts than their previous AAVs. 

But still, we need to realize just how desperate Tampa Bay already is for cap space before they even complete the Stamkos extension. Take one look at the Lightning’s current lineup, and you’ll also see no-trade and no-movement clauses all over the place.

Brandon Hagel and Anthony Cirelli are the only two with rather lucrative AAVs that don’t have any clause attached to them yet, making one of the two easier to move this summer. But since Cirelli's own no-trade clause kicks in next season, I rolled with him over Hagel. 

The Sabres would essentially get a young center with a long-term extension attached, and his $6.25 million AAV won’t be tough for Kevyn Adams to cover since it’s a front-loaded contract. Buffalo would be giving up a lot of compensation in return for a two-way center like Cirelli, especially since this would be an intra-divisional trade. But their center depth would be nothing short of epic heading into the 2024-25 season. 

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(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)