Mirco Mueller was dealt from the San Jose Sharks to the New Jersey Devils just before the expansion protection lists were submitted, but they weren’t the only team interested in him. Pierre LeBrun of TSN reports that the Buffalo Sabres were also in talks with the Sharks before they made the move for Nathan Beaulieu instead. It’s clear that the Sabres are looking for every opportunity to improve their defense after finding little consistency from the back end a year ago.
So far, the Sabres project to have some combination of Beaulieu, Rasmus Ristolainen, Zach Bogosian, Josh Gorges, Jake McCabe and Viktor Antipin in their regular group, with Justin Falk, Brendan Guhle and others fighting for the last few spots. That’s a group that could seriously use another upgrade, as various levels of inexperience and inconsistency flow throughout. With Vegas announcing that they’d have defensemen for sale after the expansion draft, it wouldn’t be surprising to hear Buffalo had picked up the phone to try and acquire one.
- That is of course if Buffalo doesn’t lose a defenseman of their own in the draft. Though we expect the Golden Knights to go after Linus Ullmark (with William Carrier a close second), there is always the chance that Bogosian could be selected. After all, even though he’s been disappointing for the Sabres since coming from Winnipeg in the Tyler Myers trade, he is still just 26 and has the pedigree of a third-overall pick. His contract still has three years left at a $5.14MM cap hit (and actually costs more from a salary perspective) but if Vegas believes he can put his injury woes behind him and become the top-pairing two-way defender he was drafted as they could potentially take him off Buffalo’s hands.
- John Vogl of the Buffalo News passes on a report that Phil Housley will hire an all-new assistant coaching staff for next season, with Terry Murray, Bob Woods and Tom Ward all not expected to be retained. New GM Jason Botterill is attempting to change the entire culture in the Buffalo organization, and that likely means wiping the coaching slate clean. Interestingly, Murray is the uncle of former Buffalo GM Tim Murray and is a career NHL coach who has held the head position in Florida, Philadelphia, Washington and Los Angeles.