Apologies for the novel, was feeling passionate about the topic.
TL;DR is: Calgary rules, Buffalo drools. 😂 LOL
I’ve never been more interested in the Sabres in my life! LOL. I want to grab a bag of popcorn to see how this off-season unfolds for them! I wish a had a timeline to rehash all the drama in this post!
Going into this off-season, half the team is RFA and UFA. To add to that, they now have a first-time GM that has all this cap space to use in a free agency... when no A-list player would ever sign with them. I mean, sure, there will be bottom 6 players eager to sign for top 6 money there, but this team has so few assets under contract to even trade to acquire other assets, and no one of quality is going to sign there in the off-season... it’s a train wreck!
- Buffalo will be interested in players already under contract, so they have them under their control.
- Buffalo will be even more interested in acquiring players with team-friendly (read: low dollar value) contracts, so that they maximize their bottom line.
- Buffalo will be interested in players that can create a buzz for fans (players that have a quality or identity that’s been lacking on the team)
- Buffalo will be interested in trading the future for the now
- Buffalo only has a few valuable assets to acquire any of the above.
If Dhalin and Cozens are the future, Buffalo needs players who can bridge the gap and get them in the playoffs now. Veteran leaders that have had success in the league to pave the way for those young players. Eichel is an “in between”. He doesn’t fit the “right now” Sabres, and his contract will be nearing an end when Dhalin and Cozens begin to come into their own. Do I think it’s probable Eichel is traded? No. Do I think it’s possible Eichel could be traded? More than I ever have before. Again, I don’t think it’s likely, but I also believe the chances have never been better for such a thing to occur. And oddly enough, I think the Flames have the pieces to do it.
If we are going to acquire Eichel, it’s going to have to be a bold move by the GM. Eichel ain’t coming here for our scraps. If we offer Monahan & Gaudreau for Eichel as I suggested a long time ago, I truly think it happens. Buffalo couldn’t say no to 2 players that produce on average around double the points per season that Eichel does. 2 players that are on team-friendly contracts. 2 players that have years of chemistry already. 2 players that would create a crazy buzz in the fan base. 2 players that can help the Sabres get into the playoffs. 2 players that might draw other NHL players to come play with... like I said, it would have to be a bold move on our end to get Buffalo to make a bold move with Eichel. Would that be my first offer to Buffalo though? No. In any negotiation you have to feel out your trading partner. But I think any trade for Eichel starts with Monahan, and I’d add varying combinations of pieces (Not all of them of course!) like:
- Bennett (he has high draft pedigree, brings intangibles like toughness, and was drafted as a Center - a typical “change of scenery” type player).
- Hanifin (they need LD right? Team friendly contract with term)
- Jankowski (high draft pedigree, big centerman, potential to regain PK prowess)
- Kylington (Another young promising D to grow with the team)
- Draft picks/prospects that align with Buffalos youth movement and Gillies as a throw in.
- and Yes, I’d float Lucic to them as well, just in case. Salary would likely have to be retained, but don’t roll your eyes at a fan base that is starving for some semblance of strength. A big hit, intimidation, a fight, protection for Dhalin and Cozens... who knows, he may look attractive to them at $4mil especially if they have trouble signing players in the off-season.
Essentially I’d try to do the reverse Phaneuf trade where we’d end up with the best player in the trade, but for a group of good players that fill Buffalo’s position of need. I would keep the Mony + Johnny offer in my pocket until I can’t materialize a trade any other way, and this is assuming BT knows Gaudreau won’t re-sign here. I might even throw Bennett in there and Janko too just to reduce our own salary cap (remember, Buffalo needs players to ice a team next season!), but either way I’d also be taking a run at Petrangelo and Hall as well.