Jason Botterill handed Zach Bogosian a terrible Valentine’s Day greeting of all.
Today, the veteran defenseman has been waived by the Sabres.
During his six year NHL career in Buffalo, the oft-injured Bogosoan has played in just 243 games. The big D has beenbothered by hip injuries the past few seasons. Last spring, Bogosian has surgery to repair a damaged hip. This sseason, he has appeared in just 19 games. In Decemner, Bogosian requested a trade from the Sabres, who have eight healthy NHL defenseman on the roster and three excellent D prospects in the organizational incubator in Rochester waiting for their chance to play in Buffalo.
Bogosian can snap th epuck around and move wel for a big man. The former third over pick in the 2008 NHL Draft has scored 13 goals and 54 assists in Buffalo. In his 12 year NHL career, Bogosian has played in 636 career NHL games scoring 53 goals and 141 assists.
Bogosian will turn 30 in July and is a pending UFA earning who is earning $5,142,857 this season.
Bogosian will not know his fate with the Sabres until Noon on Saturday.
Bogisian is available to be claimed by any NHL team.
If he goes unclaimed and can clear waivers, he will be sent to AHL Rochester, which would save Botterill nearly $1 million in salary cap cash that Botterill can use to buy a forward. The NHL trade deadline is Monday February 24.
Bogosian night also clear waivers and simply remain in the press box in Buffalo.
Which NHL forwards are on Botterill’s mind at the NHL trade deadline?
Keep an eye on Tampa’s Anthony Cirelli.
The Lightning front office has been time sharing in Buffalo’s press box for weeks. The Bolts are scouting right defenseman of which Buffalo has one to trade. No. Botterill is not trading Bogisian for Cirelli. However, Botterill may be open to trading Colin Miller to Tampa in exchange for Cirelli.
Cirelli, 22, is a pending RFA along with Bolts defenseman Mikhail Sergachev.
It was just last summer when then RFA forward Brayden Point earned his new three year bridge deal that now pays the young sniper $6.75M AAV. Realistically, the Bolts cannot afford to keep Cirelli and Sergachev and lock them up to long term contracts.
If they are going to make a deep run to the Stanley Cup this spring, the Bolts will have to add a veteran right shot D.
Colin Miller is a perfect fit for Tampa just as Cirelli is perfect for the Sabres. Botterill can include forward Conor Sheary or Evan Rodrigues in the deal. Miller, 27, is a $3.88M AAV for two more seasons.
Cirelli is Ryan O’Reilly Version 2.0. Sabres fans will never forgive Jason Botterill for trading ROR for five pieces, two of which turned out to be valuable to today's team. Cirelli is big, strong, skates like the wind, can light the lamp and defends like a beast. Cirelli will win a Selke award for best defensive forward in the NHL before his career is over.
This season, Cirelli has 14 goals and 25 assists in 56 games played and is +24.
In his NHL career, Cirelli has scored 38G, 56A in156 career games. He also has 21 games of playoff experience.
Why would the Bolts trade a young stud like Cirelli? They are too heavy at forward and weak in defense depth. Julien BriseBois is committed to trading a scoring forward to secure a legit right shot D.
Today, the Lightning has committed $50.2 million to their forwards, $14.8 million committed to their D corps and $4.8 million to their goalies.
The Lightning are paying Vezina candidate Andrei Vasilevskiy only $3.5M AAV this season but will start paying him 9.5M AAV next season when his long term contract kicks in.
Lightning GM Julien BriseBois has been persistently scouting the Sabres and Amerks for the past two months. On Sunday night, the Bolts sent both of their assistant general managers a pro scout to Buffalo to watch Sabres-v-Ducks. On Thursday night, the Bolts sent their director of player personnel and a pro scout to Sabres-v-Blue Jax.
Smoke meets fire.
I think Colin Miller will be available for trade. Seemingly there is a trust situation with Miller and Ralph Kreuger. Miller has been a healthy scratch several times this season as well as being the seventh defenseman in Kreuger‘a 11 forward-7D lineup.
Rasmus Ristolainen, Brandon Montour and Henri Jokiharju are Kreuger’s most trusted and most consistent right shot D to say nothing of future star Will Borgen and steady RD Casey Fitzgerald performing well in Rochester.