3 players the Buffalo Sabres must move by the 2024 trade deadline

If the Buffalo Sabres sell at the trade deadline, it shouldn’t mean they are throwing their season away, but shedding the roster of players they don’t need.
Dec 2, 2023; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA;  Buffalo Sabres defenseman Erik Johnson (6) looks on
Dec 2, 2023; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Buffalo Sabres defenseman Erik Johnson (6) looks on / James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
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The Buffalo Sabres must sell come the trade deadline, but not for the reason you may think. Their 2023-24 season isn’t over until there is no mathematical way for them to be one of the top eight teams in the Eastern Conference. But for the entire year, the Sabres have been dealing with a logjam of one-way contracts, which doesn’t bode well for the team. 

Therefore, Casey Mittelstadt will not be one of the players listed below even if trade rumors may be swirling. However, the deadline gives them a reason to free up that congestion by moving players of lesser value, and there are three they can trade for reasonable prices come March 8th, 2024. 

Don’t expect them to trade anyone they have locked into a long-term contract, or in Mittelstadt’s case, anyone who may deserve one before the regular season is underway in October 2024. 

Buffalo Sabres
Dec 19, 2023; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres defenseman Erik Johnson (6) skates up ice / Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Players the Buffalo Sabres should trade by the March 2024 deadline

1 - Erik Johnson, D

Erik Johnson was supposed to stay for the year, but the infamous healthy scratches that the emerging Ryan Johnson has received more than a few times this season given the number of veterans on the roster should require a change of plans. Erik, as with the other two players on this list, won’t command a high price, but if a team is missing a blueliner because of injury for an extended time, general manager Kevyn Adams will get a phone call. 

Despite the lower price tag associated with Erik Johnson, don’t be surprised if Adams traded him for a mid-round pick. This past August, he sent Ilya Lyubushkin to the Anaheim Ducks for a fourth, so trading Johnson to a contender that needs a guy on the third pairing could overvalue him.

If Erik Johnson plays elsewhere, the Blue and Gold can finally play Ryan Johnson without the need to scratch him or any blueliner who must play full-time. Only Henri Jokiharju should warrant consideration to be a healthy scratch, but by recalling someone like Jacob Bryson, Kale Clague, or Riley Stillman back to Buffalo full time will compensate for that.