The NHL trade deadline is less than 1 month away. However in this shortened season, the race for playoff spots is tighter than ever. The number of teams who have given up, at this the half way point of the NHL year is few, and as a result we have less confirmed sellers right now than we normally do at this point in the year.
Earlier in the week I looked at what Columbus had available for UFA rentals. Next we looked at why injuries will really hamper Florida’s ability to sell their UFAs. Today we move on to the Buffalo Sabres.
Right now the Sabres are just 4 points out of a playoff spot, but have also played the most games in the NHL and sit in 13th in the Eastern Conference. They play in the very tough, and very tight Northeast Division where they are bringing up the rear. Sure their playoff hopes aren’t dashed yet, and they might keep these guys and make a run, but they’ll have to start that run in the next three weeks or so. If things continue down the current path, there will be plenty of soon to be UFAs available for trade in Buffalo in early April.
While teams don’t always trade for just draft picks, and often will look for prospects who are closer to NHL ready, I have valued these players all on the draft pick scale, so it is easier to compare them to what is available on other teams, in my other articles.
John Scott – An absolute beast of a man at 6’08” and 270 lbs, Scott was signed as a free agent this summer. His hockey skills are somewhat limited as 164 games and 1 goal and 5 points surely show. However he is one of the scariest fighters in the NHL. Just like last year’s deadline where he went from Chicago to New York, there may again be interest from teams looking to beef up for the playoffs. Last year he was worth a 5th round pick. So I’ll peg his value at the same level again.
Jochen Hecht – The German born Hecht is aging and has seemed to have lost a step in recent years. Once a reliable 2nd line scoring threat, he had just 8 points in 22 games last season, and just 6 in 24 games this year. The years of being a reliable 40-50 point guy are probably over for the 35 year old. Still Hecht brings experience, decent defensive work, and penalty kill ability. A team might also think he’d be rejuvenated with a change of scenery. He probably will be worth around a 4th round pick.
Jordan Leopold – Leopold is playing over 21 minutes per game for the Sabres. He’s still a valuable defenceman who has a great shot and can definitely help a team on the powerplay. He’s also reliable defensively, can play against other team’s top 6, and can help out a penalty kill. Leopold is the type of player who can help any club in the NHL, and I think he has great value. I’m gonna peg him at being worth two 2nd round picks (in other words I think the Sabres can get a 2nd rounder plus a good prospect for Leopold).
Robyn Regehr – Regehr, now 32 years old, is quite simply not the same player who played 5 years ago for the Calgary Flames. That Regehr was among the best defensive defencemen in the NHL, a great hitter, a great shot blocker, and someone who could match up with the very best lines in the league night after night. This isn’t to say that Regher is a bad defenceman as that is not the case. It is however to say that he has dropped from that form. He now plays a little over 18 minutes a game for the Sabres including heavy penalty kill time. His offensive contributions are now effectively nil as well (where they were in the 15-25 point range before). Still enough of the bad, Regehr still plays a rugged defensive game, is very good on the penalty kill, and is still above average defensively. I’ll value him as being worth a 2nd round and 4th round pick.
What do you guys think, have I valued these three trade deadline rentals too high? too low? Feel free to add your comments below.