The race has gotten tighter, but the Buffalo Sabres should probably win the Northeast Division with the roster they have now. If they want to become a legitimate Stanley Cup contender, however, they might need a little help. Welcome to “Wants and Needs,” where we purge the rosters of the bottom-feeding teams and see who the Sabres could realistically acquire for the stretch run and the playoffs.
Today we look at a team we just watched: the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The two biggest needs on the Sabres are a top six scorer and a powerplay quarterback. The scoring is probably the bigger issue but if they can find one player that meets both needs, they should go all-in.
Just to be clear, I’m looking for impact players with expiring contracts that the non-playoff team wouldn’t mind parting with.
So without further ado, here are the most likely targets for General Manager Darcy Regier:
Raffi Torres (17 goals, 10 assists, $2.250 million cap hit)
He’s pretty much it. I’d be tempted to inquire about Fredirik Modin but his five points in 22 games with a $3.25 million cap hit don’t seem very attractive. Maybe after a few beers…he is a Stanley Cup champion after all… I would just be afraid to commit to someone with more than one year left on his contract since I’m strictly looking for rental players.
Torres, a Top 5 draft pick in 2000, isn’t the the natural scorer the Sabres may be looking for, but he has had moderate playoff success. The 28-year-old left winger reached the Stanley Cup Finals with Edmonton in 2006, posting 11 points in 22 postseason games. And then he put up a meager two assists in Columbus’ early first round exit two years ago.
As an upcoming unrestricted free agent, the return may not be that high and the chances of the Sabres re-signing him are probably pretty low. It’s likely that there would be very little risk in trading for him.
Torres seems more like a depth acquisition that wouldn’t make a tremendous impact, but based on the numbers, he could be someone Regier is interested in. Plus, I think we need some more goonie-looking players. Torres’ stare rivals Medusa’s.
Your move, Darcy.