The Buffalo Sabres have not had a good season. The trade smoke began to pour out of the windows KeyBank Center almost immediately, with many fans focused on Jack Eichel and if he would eventually demand out. The young star hasn’t even sniffed the playoffs since entering the league, but according to Sabres GM Kevyn Adams has not requested a trade at this point.
Even if it’s not Eichel on the move, the Sabres appear to be preparing for a busy few months. Elliotte Friedman reported on Saturday Headlines that Buffalo is “wide open” for business and that they are listening on everyone. The insider specifically mentioned Sam Reinhart, but noted that nothing is off the table:
…they are listening on all options. I think there is a number of things that people think they may do or may not do. I’ve heard there have been a lot of questions asked about Sam Reinhart. I’ve heard there have been questions asked about Eric Staal in addition to some of the other names that you would expect. Nashville is out there, Detroit is out there, but Buffalo is the team that is definitely out there and again, the word is they are listening to any possibilities.
Four different Sabres players were listed on The Athletic’s recent Trade Deadline Big Board: Eichel, Brandon Montour, Casey Mittelstadt and Taylor Hall. Of that group, only Hall has any trade protection in his contract. The former Hart Trophy winner signed a one-year deal with Buffalo this offseason that included a full no-movement clause so that he could control his destination. Though he was excited about the idea of playing beside Eichel, Hall has just two goals and 13 points so far this season and was blanked again today in the team’s latest loss.
Hall, Staal and Montour represent the best of the pending unrestricted free agents on the squad, though perhaps lesser names like Tobias Rieder could also be of some interest at the deadline. It might not be just the conventional sell off for a team like Buffalo though, who need to somehow find a way to completely flip the culture and get some excitement back into the rink.
Just over a month remains before the 2021 trade deadline, but it doesn’t really matter at this point. The Sabres are now 6-13-3 and look completely outmatched in the East Division. The playoffs aren’t a realistic outcome and the earlier they trade an expiring asset, the more they might get back.