Hamilton: Will the Sabres be active today?

March 1, 2017
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Trade deadline day has arrived and Tim Murray has some unrestricted free agents to get rid of before 3:00.
 
Defensemen Dmitry Kulikov and Cody Franson could find themselves on new teams along with Anders Nilsson and Brian Gionta.
 
Gionta can only be traded to five teams without his consent, but he has remained very consistent in his view, “I’ve made my position pretty clear that I want to stay here. I’d like to be here and go on in the future, so I want to see this thing through, so we’ll see what happens.”
 
The Sabres have lost four games in a row so is there a chance that they may have changed the captain’s mind? He said, “No, not at all. It was a frustrating weekend, but that doesn’t change anything.”
 
The Sabres could bring a trade proposal to Gionta and then tell him they’re interesting in bringing him back in July. It doesn’t sound like that would change his thinking, “It’s not my first preference, but we’ll have to see what happens when that time comes.”
 
Gionta was the captain in Montreal before coming to Buffalo. He said wearing the C plays heavy in why he wants to stay, “A lot of that goes into it. Part of the reason for coming here a few years back is to see this through and make this a playoff team and I want to be a part of that.”
 
In his first season in Buffalo, Gionta scored 13 goals and 22 assists for 35 points in 69 games. Last season he had 12 goals and 21 assists for 33 points in 79 games. This year Gionta has scored 13 goals and 16 assists for 29 points in 63 games. He just turned 38, but is having his best season as a Sabre.
 
To me, I don’t think it would be a good look for the organization at all to trade him. If a well respected player like Gionta is still effective and wants to stay, I think players around the league would notice, in a negative way, if Buffalo moved him.
 
There could also be some hockey trades made today that aren’t normally made on deadline day. Teams that have good players, that they could lose in the Expansion Draft, may be willing to make hockey trades to get something back.  
 
I think players like Evander Kane, Zemgus Girgensons or Marcus Foligno could be in play if the right deal comes along. I also believe somebody could even lure Sam Reinhart away if a good young defenseman is made available. I’m thinking back to the Seth Jones trade to Columbus when I think of Reinhart.
 
I’ll be live at the arena starting at 9:00 and will be there right through to when Tim Murray comes out to talk about the Sabres' day.