2020 Trade Deadline Recap and Grades

Initial Overall Grade: C+

After an evening to digest the trade deadline, I feel alright about what GM Botterill accomplished. It felt as if the entire day we sat around waiting for the big trade to hit and it never landed for the Sabres. We watched some big names fall into the hands of conference opponents such as Carolina who pushed their chips all-in. 

With Toronto and Florida stumbling to the finish line and not doing themselves any big deadline favors, it would have been nice to see a bigger asset join us for the west coast swing. It’s hard to be angry because I don’t see either trade as a loss and I feel we came out better from Monday. How much better? It’s incredibly marginal in the short term and in a playoff race where we are five steps behind the competition, it’s not enough for me to feel any confidence in this team climbing into the playoffs picture. 

It felt as if we swung and missed on Trocheck and landed on Wayne Simmonds as a cheap rental with slight upside. It’s impossible to know if Florida’s price was higher for a division team, but what Florida got for Trocheck seems light to me. From what Elliott Friedman said on 31 Thoughts, Florida was unwilling to make a trade they felt didn’t make them better today. 

With that in mind it’s hard to think of a package that doesn’t include Reinhart, Skinner, Eichel, or Olofsson. I’m not trying to defend Botterill, but the fit just doesn’t seem there. 

The biggest miss was Ondrej Kase who heads to Boston for a 1st, a prospect, and a $4.5 Million dead contract in David Backes. I believe Buffalo could have found a deal that worked here, but let’s move forward with the deals that did get done for The Buffalo Sabres.

Buffalo Sabres Receive: Wayne Simmonds (50% retained)

New Jersey Devils Receive: Conditional 5th Round 2020

*Condition: If Sabres make the playoffs the pick becomes a 4th Round selection*

Grade: C

Wayne Simmonds is a former 30 goal scorer who has tailed off in his early thirties. He’s a replacement level player who brings a bit of powerplay upside with his net-front presence, something the Sabres have relied on Rasmus Ristolainen as of late for. It really makes me think they had a deal in place for Risto that didn’t come through, but that’s conjecture at this point. 

This is a low buy for the Sabres who are giving up a toss at a dart board from 50 feet (2021 5th round draft pick) for a guy who might be able to spark a little offense and tip a couple powerplay goals home (Simmonds).

The Devils get what they can for a player on an unmovable contract and as I said, right about replacement level. That said, he moved his no trade clause to come to Buffalo and that is always good to see.

Buffalo Sabres Receive: Dominik Kahun

Pittsburgh Penguins Receive: Evan Rodrigues and Conor Sheary

Grade: B+

The Buffalo Sabres won this trade. Dominik Kahun is a really good addition to this team who has been the best player on his line with McCann and Hornqvist this season. The Penguins add depth players as they push for the cup and Buffalo gets a formidable RFA, who they can resign while E-Rod and Sheary were clearly on their way out of Buffalo. 

I won’t go into much detail on Kahun as Bill is already working on an article about the player Buffalo acquired. This trade just felt so good when it happened. It was the perfect cap dump to set up the main event that never came.

A slum dunk like this would be an A, but the Sabres roll past the deadline with over $7 million still left in cap space. Space that a team with real playoffs aspirations could use to acquire talent.

With this cap space, a smart GM uses to gain some picks or prospects to take on some cap space in a three-way trade. Instead we sit on it, seemingly Botterill couldn’t get the job done in the home stretch and it really sucks to see it.

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