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Daily Rumour Analysis

Daily Rumour Analysis: Bruins and Sabres

A look at some potential moves for the Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres.

Reader Jay made a request on Monday for some possible trade scenarios for a number of teams. We posted our thoughts on the Kings and Flames in Tuesday’s column, and today will examine the Sabres and Bruins to investigate any possible moves on the horizon.

Looking first at the Buffalo Sabres, we see a pretty balanced team that is good everywhere and excellent in goal. The forwards possess a wide range of skill, from the offensive talents of Thomas Vanek to the rough and tumble game of Paul Gaustad.

The defenders are a solid, steady bunch as well. Led by Craig Rivet, they feature a few excellent skaters as well as some size. However, if it were up t ome, this is one area where I would like a little bit of an upgrade for the playoffs, especially in the puck moving department.

Now, I realize that the Sabres do possess a few guys who can both shoot and skate with the puck, but power plays become very important in the playoffs and the Sabres do not seem to possess a natural power play quarterback. Tyler Myers (15 points) has been a pleasant surprise offensively and I have seen the Sabres use forwards on the point from time to time. That said, getting a offensive catalyst on the blueline could help the forwards re-discover their scoring touch and provide some much needed help on the scoresheet.

Ok, you say. Big deal, where the heck do you find a cheap puck mover (Buffalo has a little less than $2 million in cap space)? You don’t, really. What teams can look for is a guy that is under-utilized in his current configuration. We have talked Cam Barker to death, but he would be the 2nd leading defensive scorer on the Sabres, and could likely increase those stats with more playing time. The cap problem is likely too much to handle, so lets eliminate him.

Another potential target could be Matt Niskanen in Dallas. I realize the Stars are high on this young defender, but the lack of veteran leadership on the blueline has been a thorn in the side of the Stars this season. In a case of addition by subtraction, the Sabres could send either Toni Lydman or Henrik Tallinder to the Stars, clearing some salary and getting an offensively prone defender coming back to town. Dallas would certainly gain some valuable experience, and have a ton of cap room should they want to re-sign either player, who are both pending UFA’s.

Staying on the same thought process, what about a guy like Cody Franson in Nashville. The Predators have a lot of offensive defensemen already, and still have to sign Dan Hamhuis. Seemingly in a perpetual battle to save money, the Predators could take either of the aforementioned defenders back, as they would only be on the hook for part of their remaining salaries, and would have that player drop off the books in the summer. If they are worried about staying above the cap floor, the Sabres could also float the idea of Craig Rivet, who has a cap hit of $3.5. That move isn’t likely, however, as Rivet plays a lot of tough minutes in Buffalo.

Franson’s cap hit is a low $0.694 and he is a pending RFA. He has offensive skills and is a decent skater. The Sabres may not want to turn over a PP to a young guy, but he could very well run with the assignment and provide the Sabres with a nice option with the man advantage.

Moving on the the Bruins, we see another squad with just under $2 million in space and a relatively balanced lineup. For my money, I would avoid tinkering too much with a team that has come on strong lately and is comfortably in a playoff position.

If I were pulling the strings, I would look at acquiring a veteran presence at forward. Perhaps someone who is a vocal leader in the dressing room and can motivate the younger players, several of whom are underperforming this year.

A couple of guys spring to mind, for no other reason than some connection to Boston, albeit slim. First, if the Oilers should slip way out of the playoff picture and are forced into rebuild mode, the Bruins should ask about Ethan Moreau. The Oilers and Bruins have a history of trade making, and Moreau is still apparently a highly thought of commodity in the NHL.

His best days are long behind him, but he is well liked in the dressing room and is an effective 3rd or 4th liner that can kill penalties. Still good for a goal or two, he would provide the Bruins with a little more grit and some playoff experience. The sticking point, in addition to his $2 million cap hit, is the length of the term. He has one more year left after this one at a salary of $1.75 million.

Boston does have a little more than $2 million coming off the books, but has to re-sign Blake Wheeler as well. The uncertainty about the cap makes this one a long shot, but if the Bruins want to win now, it may be a move they have to make.

Another thought might be Keith Tkachuk of the St. Louis Blues. He has a similar cap hit to Ethan Moreau, but is an UFA after this season. A native Mass-hole, Tkachuk would likely jump at the chance to make a run with the Bruins.

Should St. Louis continue to falter down the stretch, they may be willing to swing a deal with Boston for either picks or a roster player. With Wheeler due for a raise, the Bruins will have to move some salary to make it happen.

Lets hear your thoughts on these or any other moves. Also, remember to tune into the IC Radio Show tonight!