Buffalo Sabres Trade Deadline Preview - 2021 NHL Season
Writer: Austin Broad
Editor: Brandon Caputo
Photo Credit: Getty Images
The Sabres made some news when they held out winger Taylor Hall from Tuesday’s game against the New Jersey Devils. All speculation has been leaning towards trade talks heating up and if it were ever in doubt it seems that Hall’s short tenure in Buffalo will be coming to an end no later than Monday’s NHL Trade Deadline.
Hall isn’t the only piece Buffalo has on the market, there has been a few other names thrown out there by some of the insiders and if all goes well for Kevyn Adams, he could be in for a very busy deadline week.
Trade bait board courtesy of TSN.ca
There are four names that come to mind for Buffalo that have the potential to be moved between now and the trade deadline, since Eric Staal was moved to the Montreal Canadiens a short time ago for a pair of draft picks.
Taylor Hall, Brandon Montour, Linus Ullmark and to a lesser extent Tobias Reider.
Other players could generate interest like Riley Sheahan or Colin Miller, but the Sabres do need to keep some players to keep their roster at a playable capacity.
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Photo Credit: Getty Images
The biggest name on the market for Buffalo and arguably the biggest name on the market. Buffalo took a gamble by signing Hall to a 1-year 9 million dollar contract. Unfortunately it didn’t work out for either side.
Hall has 2 goals this year, 19 points, -21 rating, and is posting a career-low shooting percentage through 37 games of the 2021 campaign.
Despite decent underlying numbers, the production just isn’t there and for players like Hall…production helps determine value. In a normal season Buffalo would probably have no problems grabbing a first-round pick plus other pieces for Hall but given the pandemic, the lack of production by Hall and the restrictions on trading cross-border, Buffalo has limited options.
I still believe that Buffalo will be able to fetch two pieces in a Hall trade, and given the interest in at least two teams, there could be a small bidding war for the former Hart Trophy winner.
Potential Teams: Florida, Boston, Toronto
FLA Receives: Taylor Hall (50% salary)
BUF Receives: Aleksi Heponiemi or Serron Noel + Conditional 2nd Round
Draft Pick (with the possibility of becoming a 1st if certain goals are reached)
After the Isles traded a 1st and other pieces for Palmieri and Zajac, I think the Sabres can snag a 1st rounder in the Hall trade. But in this scenario I went for a prospect with upside and a conditional pick that can become a 1st. Florida sent Connolly to Chicago to clear cap space so they have the room to make a Hall trade work.
Photo Credit: Nick Wass/Associated Press
Montour is playing well at the right time, he has four goals in his last five games and his trade value might be increasing because of it. He looks like the player Buffalo gave up a first-round pick for which is both bad because they needed this from him last year, and good because his value could be increasing.
Potential Teams: Florida, Winnipeg
Florida and Winnipeg make the most sense for Montour because they have a need for defenceman. Florida lost Ekblad to an injury and the Jets have been trying to upgrade their blueline for over a year. One of these two teams will step up and make a trade, Montour’s play as of late makes his value even higher heading into the deadline.
WPG Receives: Brandon Montour
BUF Receives: Michael Spacek or a 2nd Round Draft Pick
Montour has been playing great as of late, scoring four goals in his last five games. He finally looks like the player they traded for 2 seasons ago. While it’s disappointing that he’s finally playing up to this level at the end of his tenure, the Sabres are in a good spot to maximize his value in a trade. The Jets have been desperate to upgrade their D-core after big subtractions over the last few seasons.
Photo Credit: NHL.com
The most controversial Sabre on the trade market. Ullmark has been fantastic for Buffalo this year, and deserves to be brought back if he wants to. Unfortunately the Sabres can’t afford to overpay him and also can’t afford to let him walk to UFA for nothing.
If there’s no hint at a contract extension by Monday the Sabres should absolutely look to move Ullmark. It sucks but it’s the reality of the business at this point, especially because teams are very interested in goalies this year and Buffalo has one of the better options out there.
Potential Teams: Toronto, Colorado
TOR Receives: Linus Ullmark
BUF Receives: Pierre Engvall + 2021 3rd Round Pick
This is a tough one to write because I’d hate to see Ullmark in blue and white, but it makes a lot of sense. The Leafs need another option in goal in case Andersen is hurt or Jack Campbell’s numbers start to slip and Ullmark gives them a really reliable option in net.
In return the Sabres would get a player that can slot into their lineup with some NHL experience and they get another draft pick to add to their cupboard.
I think the Sabres should make one last push to re-sign Ullmark but if not done by Monday moving him makes the most sense. Also should be stressed that if Ullmark is moved I can see Adams acquiring one of the CBJ goalies to fill that void going forward.
Jeffrey T. Barnes/AP
I think he could be moved because he has some decent production this year and provides some PK ability and depth to a contending team. I can’t imagine anyone giving up more than a 6th or 7th round future pick for him, but it could be beneficial to clear the roster spot going forward.
Potential Teams: ???
BUF Receives: 2022 6th rounder
I have no idea where he ends up, but with teams like Edmonton looking at Luke Glendenning I can imagine a scenario where a team could take on Reider.