The Buffalo Sabres brought in veteran defensemen Erik Johnson and Connor Clifton at the outset of unrestricted free agency which quieted the rumors of them making a trade for the likes of Brett Pesce or Noah Hanifin, but GM Kevyn Adams could be looking for bargains on the open market over the summer. Could free agent blueliner Anthony DeAngelo be a possible target?
— nopClips (@nopClips) February 20, 2023
DeAngelo was bought out of the final year of his contract by the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday after there were rumors that he was going to be traded to the Carolina Hurricanes, but speculation that the Canes are in the mix for Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson may have delayed Carolina’s interest in dealing for the 27-year-old defenseman. While there may be some lingering interest from the Hurricanes if they are not able to pull off a deal for Karlsson, DeAngelo may be looking for potential Plan B options.
What Are The Sabres Still Looking For?
The Athletic’s Eric Duhatschek speculated that the Sabres had an interest in Hanifin (who has a year left before becoming an unrestricted free agent), but that the Flames might be looking for a retainable player like Sabres center Peyton Krebs and something else on top of that. That price was reportedly deemed excessive by Buffalo, which had them move on to a short-term fix like Johnson (who signed to a one-year, $3.25 million deal) and Clifton (signed to a three-year, $10 million deal)
Duhatschek believes that players from Winnipeg and Calgary entering the last year of their deals who were rumored to be on the block (Mark Scheifele, Connor Hellebuyck, Hanifin, Mikael Backlund, Chris Tanev, Nikita Zadorov) may be held over into the regular season unless interested teams up their offers. Other players who were bought out (such as DeAngelo and former NY Islanders forward Josh Bailey) or passed through the first cycle of free agency (Vladimir Tarasenko, Tomas Tatar, Pius Suter, Nick Ritchie) may be willing to take a team-friendly deal similar to what Oskar Sundqvist signed to return to St. Louis.