The Buffalo Sabres boast one of the league's worst offenses, are even more permissive defensively than their 2.82 goals against per game rate would suggest (thanks to the stellar play of Ryan Miller), and currently sit 26 points removed from the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. In other words, the rebuilding Sabres are your classic "trade deadline seller."
The Sabres have selected early and often at the NHL entry draft over the past few years, they already own two first rounders for the 2015 entry draft (both probable lottery picks) and have accumulated a number of quality young prospects through moves like last season's Jason Pominville trade. With a burgeoning youth movement already underway and pending unrestricted free-agents Ryan Miller, Matt Moulson and captain Steve Ott on the roster; the Sabres also have a number of quality trade chips to play with at the deadline.
The club's employment of desirable mercenary assets like Miller, Moulson and Ott lends new Sabres general manager Tim Murray significant flexibility to double down on the club's rebuild and continue accumulating talented young assets by the bushel full if he so chooses. But that's not necessarily how the situation in Buffalo will play out over the coming months according to the freshly minted Sabres general manager.
"For me, it's all about the return," Murray told Buffalo News sports writer Mike Harrington on Saturday. "These are good players. So if the return was up to a certain point and not great and we then decide we want to talk to them about staying, then that's an option too."
Murray added, "Certainly their names are in play and we'll see what happens but it doesn't guarantee they'll be moved at all."