As most of us know there is a group of about 10 or so NHL teams either over the salary cap or running out of wiggle room. Most of these teams still have a handful of roster positions to fill and very little money to work with.
So who do you believe will be trading any players to make cap space, who is likely to be moved, and where could they be headed? Who are the teams likely to benefit most from cap casualty trades?
Here is my take: While your guess is as good as mine about who may be moved, it’s a safe bet that teams who haven’t been very active this offseason spending money will be the ones acquiring players. Expect younger, inexpensive teams to add some veteran leadership that wasn’t available in free agency.
Personal opinion about what the Sabres may do
Personally, my hope is that the Sabres will take advantage of other teams opening their pocketbooks a little too much. Getting Toni Lydman from Calgary for only a 3rd round pick appears to be a steal for Buffalo, and most Flames fan will agree with me. While the Flames no longer needed him with their recent defensive additions, I’m surprised all they got was a 3rd rounder. I believe that the Sabres are not done and will make at least one more rather significant move, possibly before training camp but definitely by the start of the season. They have an abundance of forwards, some of which have drawn interest from other teams looking for younger and cheaper players. While the defense looks more solid adding Lydman, Jay Mckee has yet to be signed and adding another strong defenseman would be a good move for Buffalo. Perhaps cutting off some dead wood like Pyatt could get them a decent player that needs a change of scenery.
There is another the issue of 3 goaltenders in Buffalo with Miller, Noronen, and Biron. While Darcy Regier keeps saying the goaltending situation will be dealt with this season, he will only make a trade that benefits the team now. He has vowed that this season is a playoff year for Buffalo, especially since his and Lindy Ruff’s jobs depend on it. I’m not too sure how many teams are in the market for a goalie, but Atlanta and Los Angeles come to mind. Losing Pasi Nurminen means the Thrashers will at least need a backup for Kari Lehtonen. However, the only players Atlanta has that I would be interested in seeing in a Sabres uniform are untouchables. Los Angeles on the other hand has several players both on offense and defense that I’d look into. Matheiu Garon and Jason Labarbera don’t look solid enough to me as the 1-2 goalie tandem in LA.
Oh, and to put to rest a possible trade rumor with LA, I don’t see Aaron Miller being dealt to Buffalo. Although he is from the area, it’s been said that he doesn’t want to play here. The Kings’ asking price for him seems too high anyway, Miller is 34 I think and has only a handful of seasons left at best. Not to say I would be disappointed if he were traded here, he’s still a solid player, but not at the high asking price LA is looking for.