The Buffalo Sabres have a new GM and need a new identity for their team, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be throwing away assets this offseason. Speculation has run rampant lately that the team will leave Brandon Montour unqualified after the defenseman’s up-and-down start with the organization, but when GM Kevyn Adams was asked about it today he told reporters including Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News “that’s definitely not something we’ve talked about.”
The 26-year old defenseman will require a $3.525MM qualifying offer in order for the Sabres to retain his rights as a restricted free agent and is eligible to argue for an even bigger raise in arbitration. Montour has 28 points in 74 games since coming to Buffalo in 2019 but hasn’t quite turned into the top-pairing option they were hoping for. Remember that if Montour opts for arbitration, he can force his way to UFA status in 2021 with a one-year contract award.
- The St. Louis Blues lost Vladimir Tarasenko when he left the bubble today, but are getting back one of their important bottom-six names. Ivan Barbashev has cleared the quarantine protocols after returning from the birth of his first child, meaning he can be inserted back into the lineup by head coach Craig Berube. The Blues were able to tie their series against the Vancouver Canucks, but have been noticeably missing the physical presence that Barbashev provided last year when he led all players with 87 hits in the postseason.
- The Arizona Coyotes are holding onto the postseason by a thread after being dismantled by the Colorado Avalanche last night, but could still be missing two of their most important forwards when they start game five. Head coach Rick Tocchet told reporters including Craig Morgan of AZ Coyotes Insider that Conor Garland didn’t practice today and is “uncertain” for tomorrow’s match. The same can be said about Nick Schmaltz, who is still recovering from the hit he took in the exhibition from Ryan Reaves. Schmaltz, the team’s leading scorer during the regular season, hasn’t played a single game in the postseason.