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 the Edmonton Oilers.
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. These are the most likely targets for General Manager Darcy Regier:
Yep, that’s right. There really isn’t anyone that I would want from the Oilers.
It’s hard enough to find a consistent goal scorer in Edmonton, let alone one with an expiring contract. There might be a few upcoming RFAs that might be worth looking at, but no one that is going to help the Sabres make a Stanley Cup run this season.
And if any of those guys are going to be any good (like Sam Gagner), they should probably hang onto them for the ongoing rebuild. Unless Regier wants to deal with another Steve Bernier-type situation, I doubt he moves in on a player coming up on restricted free agency.
You could make the case for Ethan Moreau if you’re into guys that have lost about three steps and are under contract for next season. He is the captain over there so he’s got the leadership thing down but his production this year has been down-right awful (4 goals, 5 assists, -12). I’m not sure how much he would help the scoring issues the Sabres have.
Patrick O’Sullivan is another guy I considered as a potential trade target. Then I looked at his stats. In 55 games, he’s got 30 points — only 10 of those points are goals. His -25 rating might be a result of playing on a bad team, but a 35.8 percent success rate on faceoffs isn’t helping anyone. He’s also an RFA after the 2010-11 season with a $2.925 million cap hit. Thanks, but no thanks.
It will be interesting to see what the Oilers are able to part with at the deadline. They have a lot of money tied up in defensemen so I’d be surprised if they were even able to move the injured Sheldon Souray.
If Regier does pull the trigger on a trade with Edmonton, I think it would come as a bit of a surprise. Bodies on the active roster would probably have to move and, as we’ve seen in the past, Regier tends to pretty much roll with the roster he has when his team in the top third of the standings.
Deadline Day is March 3. Your move, Darcy.