Countdown to TradeCentre: What comes next in Buffalo?

Kim Pegula addresses the media.

Kim Pegula addresses the media.

TSN.ca Staff

The National Hockey League’s Trade Deadline is on Monday, April 12 and teams will be making decisions on whether to buy or sell and decide which players can make the biggest difference and hold the greatest value. Check out the latest trade rumours and speculation from around the NHL beat.


Protect The Assets?

The Buffalo Sabres blew a 3-0 lead on Monday night and saw their winless skid extended to 18 games with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.

With the team now 22 points out of a playoff spot in the East Division, TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun wondered Monday whether the Sabres will pull Taylor Hall from their line up to protect against injury.

 

Hall, 29, is a pending unrestricted free agent, carrying an $8 million cap hit on the one-year deal he signed with Buffalo in October. Listed at No. 4 on the TSN Trade Bait Board, he has two goals and 18 points in 34 games this season,

Hall is one of eight pending unrestricted free agents, including defenceman Brandon Montour, who sounded off after Monday’s collapse.

“This whole stretch is embarrassing, but especially tonight,” Montour said. “Any team in the NHL — I don’t care who you are — that’s a win.”

Montour, who’s listed at No. 15 on the Trade Bait Board, put the loss squarely on the shoulders of the Sabres players.

“You go through a stretch like this, you blame systems, you blame coaches, you blame other lines,” he added. “In the end, you’ve got to be an NHL player. … That’s got to be better on our part. That’s (on the) players. That’s completely on the 20 guys on the ice.

“That’s brutal.”


Off-the-Radar Add?

Murat Ates of The Athletic wonders if the Winnipeg Jets could be better suited acquiring Alex Goligoski for a lower cost to upgrade the blue line than spend big on a player such as Mattias Ekholm.

Ates argues that Goligoski could be a “a low-cost, low-risk” addition for the Jets, who could avoid parting defensive prospects Logan Stanley, Dylan Samberg and Ville Heinola. He also notes that the Jets could squeeze in Goligoski’s expiring $5.475 million cap hit with little headaches if they can move out $875,000 or more in the deal.

The 35-year-old defenceman, who’s listed at No. 8 on the TSN Trade Bait Board, has one goal and five points this season. A veteran of 903 NHL games, Goligoski has 81 goals and 412 points over his 14 seasons in the league.

An executive told LeBrun and Thomas Drance of The Athletic last week that the Jets would likely have to part with Mathieu Perreault, a 2021 first-round pick and Heinola to land Ekholm, who is signed through next season.

With the Jets looking to compete through at least 2023-24 – when the deals of Connor Hellebuyck, Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele are all set to expire – Ates believes the time is not right to mortgage the future for a playoff run.


On the Move?

Larry Brooks of the New York Post wonders if Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen owes it to the franchise’s future to move captain Nick Foligno if he can’t extend the 33-year-old before the April 12 deadline.

The Blue Jackets have previously held onto pending unrestricted free agents for their playoff runs in recent seasons, including Artemi Panarin, Sergei Bobrovsky and rentals Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel two years ago. Columbus is currently three points back of the final playoff spot in the Central Division and is the midst of a four-game winless skid.

Should Kekalainen elect to move Foligno, Brooks believes he would “fit perfectly into the mold of a Lou Lamoriello-Barry Trotz player” with the New York Islanders.

Foligno has six goals and 13 points in 36 games this season after posting 10 goals and 31 points in 67 games last season. He carries a $5.5 million cap hit in the final season of a six-year deal signed with the Blue Jackets in 2014.