Speculation Spectacular: Changes in Buffalo

For the second week of Speculation Spectacular we’ll be focusing in on Buffalo, and I apologize for that. No one should have that much Buffalo in their lives.

With the Sabres removal of Jason Botterill and replacing him with former Leaf, Kevyn Adams, it seems entirely possible that the Sabres will be making significant roster changes once something resembling an offseason occurs, and it’s also entirely possible that the new direction might mean usable players might be made available.

What usable players?

Well, that would be a very valid question when it comes to Buffalo. They have very good players like Eichel, Reinhart, Dahlin, Olofsson, and Cozens that they are certainly not moving.

They have players like Okposo, Skinner, and Ristolainen that possess contracts that no team in their right mind should want. There’s also a lot of other crap, but nestled away in that mess are Colin Miller and Brandon Montour, two right side defenseman that could be interesting buy low options for the Leafs, and add a bit of depth to the right side.

What about my trading for Reinhart pipe dream?

Let’s quickly dismiss that by saying that you don’t make a cranky Jack Eichel less cranky by trading his friend. Add to that the fact the Leafs probably aren’t looking to add another expensive forward unless they are also subtracting one, and the Reinhart fantasy makes little sense, even though he’s a good player and you are right for liking him.

The real reason anyone is trading with Buffalo…

Buffalo has cap space for next season. They may have a lot of positions that need to be filled and a lot of needs, but as of this exact moment they’ve got money to work with. They don’t have a lot of draft picks to deal, oddly enough, but if you’re looking at cap space as the key asset in any deal, Buffalo is a good fit for a team like the Leafs that might want to free up some money to work with in free agency or trades with teams that have more usable players.

If the Leafs can acquire a bit of cap space, and pick up some usable players in the process it could be a tidy piece of work by Kyle Dubas. I’d suggest that something along the lines of Alex Kerfoot and Travis Dermott for Colin Miller and Tage Thompson would give the Leafs a bit more cap flexibility and address some of their issues on the right side of the blueline. I’m also not saying this is a completely balanced deal, just the beginning of what I would look at as worth obtaining from the Sabres roster and has the beginnings of something that works for both teams.

Wonky trade proposal aside and ignoring the taboo idea of trading within the division, I wouldn’t mind seeing the Leafs and Sabres hook up on a non-Ristolainen trade in the offseason. Adams is a new GM without Hockey Ops experience and the fact that he could be a complete wildcard in what he will do is interesting to me. It’s worth keeping an eye on what Buffalo does in the coming months.