Although the Sabres are once again hovering around the basement of the Eastern Conference, GM Jason Botterill told MSG in a pregame interview on Friday (Twitter link) that he is pleased with some aspects of the season, particularly how things have gone development-wise with AHL Rochester as well as from an accountability standpoint. However, given their struggles in stringing victories together, some have wondered if Buffalo will be looking to make some changes. Botterill noted that given the parity around the league, the trade market has largely stalled which may make shaking things up more of a challenge:
“We’re always having dialogue, whether it’s my assistant general managers or with Phil [Housley, head coach] about what does the team need. I think you look around the league with the parity, there’s not a lot of trades just yet. Teams don’t know ’Are we going to be sellers or buyers?’ They don’t know that situation yet.”
Here is a look at some of the recent roster speculation surrounding the Sabres:
- Any trade musings have to involve pending UFA winger Evander Kane. He’s off to a hot start which should help his value although, given his past, there is still some skepticism around the league. In an appearance on Sportsnet 960 (audio link), Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that the Kings had interest in him dating back to the summer. He also suggested that Columbus could have some interest even though Kane isn’t a center while also tossing out the Lightning as a team that might view Kane as the piece that puts them over the top for a Stanley Cup run.
- TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported on TSN 1260 (audio link) that Buffalo is receiving trade interest in forward Sam Reinhart. The second-overall selection in 2014 hasn’t gotten off to a particularly strong start this year with ten points (5-5-10) through 23 games which has him on pace for the lowest point total of his young career. Botterill may soon have to make a decision on whether or not Reinhart is part of the long-term plan for the Sabres or if he is expendable in the somewhat near future.
- Zach Bogosian’s tenure with Buffalo since coming over in the Kane trade with Winnipeg hasn’t gone well so far. In fact, he hasn’t even played yet this season. Matt Larkin of The Hockey News pegs him as a buyout candidate this summer, arguing that even at half of his cap hit (which would be $2.57MM) there may not be much interest around the league. A Bogosian buyout next June would have the Sabres carrying a cap hit of $1.143MM for 2018-19 and 2019-20 plus a $2MM charge for the following two seasons.