While the Sabres sit a dozen points out of the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference, it doesn’t seem as if they’re ready to give up on this season just yet. In his Saturday Headlines segment on Saturday, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported (video link) that Buffalo is looking to add win-now pieces. One thing they have that many buyers won’t is cap space as CapFriendly pegs them at having over $22MM in cap room today, a number that balloons to over $36MM on trade deadline day. Accordingly, they have the ability to add some pieces to try to overcome this sizable deficit with 31 games left in their season.
Elsewhere around the NHL:
- The Avalanche lead the NHL in goals scored with 196, an average of 3.7 per game. Despite that, Corey Masisak of The Denver Post suggests that adding more scoring might be a good way for them to go at the trade deadline. With the status of Valeri Nichushkin moving forward in doubt while he’s in the Player Assistance Program and the fact that the bulk of their scoring is coming from two lines, adding someone to help deepen their attack could certainly be beneficial when the checking tightens up in the playoffs. However, cap space is quite limited and if they do opt to go that route, it could prevent them from shoring up their backup goalie spot as well.
- The upper-body injury that Blue Jackets forward Yegor Chinakhov sustained last night will cause him to miss at least Tuesday’s game versus Ottawa, relays Aaron Portzline of The Athletic (subscription link). If Columbus wants to call up a replacement forward, they’ll need to open up a roster spot first which could be done by shifting Adam Fantilli to injured reserve. Meanwhile, Portzline adds that defenseman Nick Blankenburg is dealing with a concussion, the second one he has sustained this season. The 25-year-old has been shuffled back and forth between Columbus and AHL Cleveland this year but it appears he’ll be staying in the minors for a little while until he’s cleared to return.
- In a follow-up announcement to their offer of an in-person hearing to Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly for his cross-check on Ridly Greig on Saturday, the Department of Player Safety announced (Twitter link) that Rielly accepted the offer and that the hearing will be held on Tuesday afternoon in New York. Considering Toronto plays on Tuesday night, a decision on the length of his suspension will need to be made fairly quickly after the hearing.