5 seemingly unreasonable offseason moves that would actually make sense for the Sabres

The Buffalo Sabres need to make some serious moves in the coming months, but let’s look at some counterintuitive options that actually make sense.
Buffalo Sabres v Tampa Bay Lightning
Buffalo Sabres v Tampa Bay Lightning / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages
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Signing Ilya Samsonov to a one-year deal

This one might make zero sense, thanks to Devon Levi’s strong development in the AHL, but if the Blue and Gold had a chance to keep Levi grounded in Rochester for a full season, it’s benefiting all parties and hurting none of them. At 22, Levi doesn’t need to be in the NHL just yet, and someone familiar like Ilya Samsonov would make for an outstanding placeholder. 

I would list a few options at goaltender to sign to a one-year deal, but assuming the Sabres would roll with something closer to a 1A and 1B as opposed to (presumably) making Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen a clear-cut No. 1, means there are few reliable players to sign in this season’s free agency class

Sure, Samsonov fell back to Earth this past season in Toronto, where he ended the year with nine ‘really bad starts,’ and put up just a 0.475 quality starts percentage, resembling the player we saw struggle with the Washington Capitals than the one who enjoyed a stellar 2022-23 campaign, and things didn’t get much better for the much-maligned goaltender in the playoffs. 

But it’s also worth noting how hot Samsonov got for a time in the 2023-24 season following an ultra-rough start. Between January 14th and April 8th, Samsonov appeared in 23 games, logging an 18-4-1 record, with two shutouts, a 0.913 save percentage, and 57 goals allowed on 658 shot attempts, allowing just 2.47 goals per game - not his overall GAA, but simply a per game average. 

Samsonov has shown he can be a solid 1B, and in a place like Buffalo that should have a clear-cut 1A and a future star in the making in Rochester, signing the veteran goaltender works here.