Buffalo could deal Ott, Moulson and Leino

Leino was a healthy scratch Tuesday after loafing through practice Monday. More disturbing than his practice habits was his nonchalance over getting benched. He shrugged his shoulders and wondered aloud what Nolan expected, as if he needed things spelled out for him after going scoreless in his first 18 games

It’s not that difficult to understand. Nolan expects an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. He expects leadership from 30-year-old playing his seventh NHL season. He expects a little jam. He expects a goal every once in a while from a so-called top-six forward. Is that really asking for too much from a guy making $4.5 million?

Nolan has low tolerance for players like Leino, which is one reason the forward should expect to be gone before next season. The Sabres don’t need a lazy, indifferent, overpaid veteran sharing the dressing room with young players when they’re driving home a message about commitment and passion.

Nolan has provided clues that point toward the Sabres keeping a collection of good young players. Veteran leaders also will have a chance to remain.

Everybody else, or more than half the roster, is expendable. Nobody is untouchable.

LaFontaine is taking his time in hiring a general manager, which will be his biggest decision since taking over hockey operations. There’s no need to rush.

It’s not as if teams are clamoring for Buffalo’s third- and fourth-line players. The Sabres don’t have a true first-liner no matter who is designated for the top assignment on their team. They might not have a player worthy of the second line on a contender or, for that matter, a top two defenseman. Check the roster.

Cody Hodgson is a second-line center at best, but he’s closer to a third-liner on a good team. Ennis and Stafford would be third-line players. Steve Ott is between the third and fourth lines. He and Matt Moulson are set to become unrestricted free agents. Both could be gone before next season.