With the trade deadline fast approaching, the NHL rumours start getting more and more serious. Teams around the league are spending tons of time scouting and fielding phone calls. The first deals occurred over the past few weeks, but plenty of potential remains for more blockbusters. First went Bo Horvat, in exchange for Anthony Beauvillier, a prospect and a pick at the end of January. Then, Vladimir Tarasenko and a prospect got flipped for Samuel Blais, a prospect and multiple picks. Plenty of other franchises remain in the rumour mill, as the clock ticks closer to the closing bell. The recent talks revolve around the Buffalo Sabres, who need a defenceman by their own admission, per sources.
NHL Rumours: Buffalo Sabres Targeting a Defenceman Ahead of Deadline
Rumour: Buffalo Sabres are looking for a defenceman as the deadline arrives, according to Dan Rosen of the NHL.com
In the most recent weekly NHL Mailbag with Dan Rosen, the analyst reviewed the potential options available on defence. A defenceman would take the Sabres to another level, and with the second-most cap space league-wide, they have plenty of options. Realistically, the Sabres could acquire any defenceman in the league with their $18.2 million in cap space. However, Rosen notes that someone with term left on their contract beyond this season is their ideal solution.
Right away, that removes some big names from the list. John Klingberg, Shayne Gostisbehere, Matt Dumba, Vladislav Gavrikov, and plenty more all sit in the final years of their current deals. That said, it also leaves just as many big names in the mix. Jakob Chychrun, Erik Karlsson, Jake McCabe and more carry additional years past the 2022-23 season on their contracts.
That said, Rosen also believes Buffalo prefers someone who won’t break the bank with regard to the pieces the other franchise will expect in return. Players like Chychrun and Karlsson will come at a hefty premium, likely including multiple players and picks (with at least one first-rounder, too).
Joel Edmundson a Good Fit in Buffalo
Buffalo has to feel pretty solid on their blueline when looking at the foreseeable future. With Rasmus Dahlin, Owen Power, Mattias Samuelsson and Henri Jokiharju in the fold, they possess a great young core. Sure, an elite top-pair guy makes any team that much better, but they’d also take minutes from this developing group and cost a ton to obtain too.
Rosen sees Joel Edmundson as the most ideal scenario in Buffalo. The 29-year-old defenceman could slot in nicely for the Sabres. He carries one more year on his current contract too, making the move more than a short-term rental. That deal, at just $3.5 million annually, leaves the Sabres with plenty of cap flexibility too.
Edmundson’s current squad, the Montreal Canadiens, will still want a nice return for the versatile blueliner. That return remains a far cry from the bundle Karlsson or Chychrun would cost. The Sabres currently own four picks in the first two rounds this summer, too. Seemingly out of the lottery conversation, maybe they aren’t as attached to those at they have been in recent years. A mid-round pick is easier to part with than a top-five pick, that much is certain. This move certainly feels like a low-risk, high-reward move from all perspectives.
Main photo: Matt Blewett – USA TODAY Sports
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