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I don’t understand - Sabres

June 29, 2020, 11:33 AM ET [49 Comments]
Jeremy Laura
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After taking time to talk about Detroit falling to 4th overall in the draft, and covering “The Winged Wheel 7 part series, it’s time to look around. More accurately, look ahead.

There are many subplots making the rounds regarding the Buffalo Sabres. Trading this year’s pick is on the radar of Mike Harrington.Speculation on trading superstar Jack Eichel is the click bait scenario for other outlets. With Edmonton having a shot for post season success this year, it seems that eyes are squarely on Buffalo.

Detroit, to be frank, is in the thick of it in terms of rebuild. A rock bottom season that allowed some veteran contracts to expire and gathered a 4th overall pick. No one thinks that a splash in free agency or on the trade market would make this team a contender. Yzerman is “steady as she goes” and will likely facilitate more low risk acquisitions and/or short term free agent deals. Buffalo has run out of patience, and 22 firings later are facing an 8th overall pick that likely won’t contribute to any on ice success this year.

Buffalo seems to be a bit of a cautionary tale. Highly touted draft picks combined with lopsided trades and overspending on free agents may well be part to blame. Eichel is a stud. There’s no reasonable deal that would give Buffalo equal value, and he’s got plenty of term left. I simply can’t fathom a scenario, short of some sort of holdout by Eichel himself, that would see him make his way out of town. It’s just hard to understand how so much potential talent has fallen to the lower ranks once again. McDavid, I’m sure, is grateful not to be talking about another wasted post season. It’s all on Eichel now.

I have often wondered if Detroit could be some sort of fit as a trade partner for Buffalo. The problem now is that this team needs proven performers. I’d thought Athanasiou would have been a candidate, but he’s in Edmonton now. Honestly, that leaves Larkin (no), Mantha (probably not), Bertuzzi (doubtful) and, well, no one else. Unless The Sabres believe that Joe Veleno could come in and take over, or want to swing for the fences to try and pry Zadina away, they’re going to be looking elsewhere.

The only deal I can think of would come from a swap of draft picks if the Buffalo GM thinks they can grab someone at 4 that could contribute right away. Not likely. It’s a difficult time to be in the Red Wings front office in a scenario like this.

I truly feel for Eichel. He wants to be “the guy”. He has the drive to want to carry a franchise into post season glory. Whether it’s been injuries to the team, poor goaltending, rotten luck, or possibly some sort of bizarre curse, the team is struggling to perform. The Pegula’s want to deliver something fantastic. They love their team and aren’t shy about spending money. If the latest moves to clean house somehow cause the franchise to stagnate or regress, it’s another year gone.

Is there a fit? Will Yzerman be making calls and swapping pieces with Buffalo? Last year I felt like he may, this year seems to be a tougher scenario. If Buffalo really wants to swing for the fences, the call has to be to Stan Bowman. If Chicago is looking toward rebuild, is there any package Buffalo could offer for Patrick Kane? Seeing him with Eichel could be something very special. The price would be astronomical (rightfully) and I can’t imagine a fit. It doesn’t mean they won’t try.

The situation causes me to embrace even more patience with our own process. I don’t want a Jeff Skinner contract coming in while we sort this thing out. It’s too easy to get impatient and end up making things harder in the end. Yzerman seems to have patience to spare, and that may be a saving grace.
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