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Potential Sabres Trade Deadline Targets

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Buffalo Sabres trade deadline targets

Who could the Buffalo Sabres potentially target at the trade deadline?

With the 3 pm deadline hours away, there’s a handful of unrestricted free agents the Sabres could move. This list includes captain Kyle Okposo, defenseman Erik Johnson, and veteran Zemgus Girgensons. A move of this nature wouldn’t likely return another NHL player, which leaves holes to fill on the roster.

The Sabres could promote players from Rochester, but, depending on how many UFAs are traded, they wouldn’t want to deplete their AHL club completely in the middle of a playoff race. This could mean the trade deadline could also see Buffalo as buyers of sorts, looking to fill vacant lineup roles.

So who could they target? Let’s look at some options:

Arthur Kaliyev

Arthur Kaliyev player comps

Arthur Kaliyev has fallen out of favor in Los Angeles, as he’s been a healthy scratch as of late. Despite his dynamic shot and offensive ability, he’s never really gotten his chance in the top six. Kaliyev is a restricted free agent at season’s end and could be a cheaper add for the Sabres.

Buffalo is looking for NHL-ready players on the brink of helping them now and in the future. The 22-year-old Kaliyev certainly fits the bill. The winger would be a sneaky-good addition for the Sabres.

Kaapo Kakko

Kaapo Kakko player comps

Kaapo Kakko is another great example of a player who can help now and in the future. Kakko is a 23-year-old stout defensive winger who can shoot. He’d be more of a Bowen Byram-type acquisition though, as an acquiring team would be buying low on a former top draft pick. Kakko was selected second overall in the 2019 NHL draft.

Trading for Kakko might be difficult, as the Rangers are looking for an offensive upgrade on the wing and he is their best centerpiece in such a deal. If New York pulls off something for a scoring winger that doesn’t include Kakko, however, then the young forward may be more expendable.

Alex Texier

Alex Texier player comps

Alex Texier is another player that could use a change of scenery. He’s one of six restricted free agents at forward at the end of the season that the Columbus Blue Jackets have to sign. Considering the other five are Kent Johnson, Kirill Marchenko, Dmitry Voronkov, Cole Sillinger, and newly acquired Alex Nylander, Texier appears last in the pecking order.

Texier is an effort-type player with good offensive qualities that could be a good addition to the Sabres’ bottom six. His position versatility allows for lineup flexibility, as Texier can play center or wing.

Connor Dewar

Connor Dewar player comps

A player who might be available in the more traditional bottom-six mold is Connor Dewar. Dewar is physical and a good penalty-killer who would fit nicely on Buffalo’s fourth line. He’s played mostly center in the NHL but can shift to the wing if need be.

Fitting the requirements of helping now and in the future, the 24-year-old Dewar is a restricted free agent come summer. The Minnesota Wild are in cap trouble, and will probably need to find a cheaper option to fill his role.

Dawson Mercer

Dawson Mercer player comps

Like his team, Dawson Mercer is having a down year. The New Jersey Devils recently fired head coach Lindy Ruff, and are likely looking to re-shape the team. Mercer is a great buy-low candidate for the Sabres, as his shooting talent and lineup versatility could help the team revamp their forward group.

Mercer can play center, wing, powerplay, penalty kill, and up and down the lineup. It doesn’t get more versatile than that. Following the pattern, he’s a restricted free agent at the end of the season. The Devils are in a position to chase more proven options in the offseason, so dumping Mercer for a Sabres prospect might be a smart move for both sides.

Andre Burakovsky

Andre Burakovsky player comps

We’re getting a little adventurous with this one. Andre Burakovsky has a modified no-trade clause, so if Buffalo is listed as one of the 10 teams on it then this point is rendered moot. However, if General Manager Kevyn Adams wants to jump-start the Sabres’ offense, the Seattle winger is the perfect forward to do it.

Burakovsky was hindered by injuries earlier in the season and hasn’t regained his primary role with the Kraken. He is Seattle’s highest-paid forward and has three years left on his contract after this season. With the team just re-signing veteran Jordan Eberle, perhaps they’d like to free up some dollars elsewhere.

A trade for Burakovsky doesn’t necessarily have to happen at the deadline, as the framework could be laid for a deal in the summer. The Kraken are six points out of a playoff spot with a game in hand and could bring someone else into the mix if they’ve deemed Burakovsky not the answer.

As for his attributes, Burakovsky is a very proficient creator of offense – especially through his shot. He’d be a great fit in Buffalo’s top six and can play either wing. He’d be a bigger swing at the trade deadline, but perhaps that’s what the Sabres need right now.