The Sabres made a trade last week that gave them a much-needed physical presence at center with Steve Ott, and got rid of a physically and mentally soft Derek Roy. Buffalo looked like they were ready to wheel-and-deal to drastically improve its roster.
Sabres fans have been waiting for that next move to come, but it’s been almost two weeks since the trade with Dallas and there still isn’t any next move. It could be time to stop waiting because there might not be another one. The Sabres might think they have improved the team enough just by getting something in return for Roy.
It’s a guessing game right now whether the Sabres are done, or if they’re waiting. There are still free agents to be signed and there could be trades that teams are waiting on to get done and then listen to offers from the teams left out. I’m getting ready to assume Buffalo is done.
I don’t think the Sabres have done enough and they still have pieces to trade with. The trade with Dallas accomplished a problem at center, but Buffalo also received defenseman Adam Pardy in the deal. The Sabres were already loaded at defensemen, but now they are over-loaded on D. They could easily put together a package for a trade that included two NHL-caliber defensemen.
The hold up could be the last couple free agents’ fault, specifically Shane Doan. There are still teams that want to try and sign a free agent instead of giving up something to get a goal-scorer. Doan was waiting for the Coyotes ownership situation to play out before he made a decision, but it looks like he’s started shopping around.
Alexander Semin also has a decision to make. He’s been offered a contract to play in the KHL in Russia, while he’s also a NHL free agent.
Rick Nash might also be to blame for the lack of movement. It’s hard enough for the Blue Jackets to find a partner to trade with and deal that works for both teams. When Nash exercises his no-trade-clause for some teams, trading Nash could be almost impossible. He is the best player to come up in trade talks and that trade will set the market for other trades like Bobby Ryan and Paul Stastny.
Nash and Ryan would be great additions, but I think the Sabres need more improvement at center. After all, are they really going to have a 22-year-old Cody Hodgson be their first-line center this season? The Sabres don’t even know what Hodgson is going to be and he’s going to be in charge of the team’s top line? He only had eight points in the 20 games he played with the Sabres a year ago.
I find it hard to believe that the Sabres’ first round draft pick, Mikhail Grigorenko, won’t be in Buffalo this season. All the signs point to him making the team. The way the roster looks now, he might be rushed into a position he’s not ready for if Hodgson can’t get the first line rolling.
If the Sabres have one move left, I would like it to be for Stastny. That would give them a true No. 1 center, and they can take their time bringing Grigorenko along. This is where we’ll see if the Sabres are serious about being a Stanley Cup contender. If they are, they still have another move to make. Unfortunately, Sabres history tells us that they are probably finished.