The Sabres are bracing for the NHL Trade Deadline

February 21, 2018

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - We all know the NHL trade deadline is 3:00 p.m. on Monday. Of course the players are well aware of it too. I had a chance to speak with many of the Sabres who are playing on expiring contracts that will make them unrestricted free agents.

Evander Kane thinks he’ll be traded for sure, but he's never had the pressure of being a rental. He said, “I’ve never been through it before, so I don’t think you can really know how you’re going to feel, but I’m definitely prepared for it mentally headed in, so it looks like we know what’s going to happen.

“I think the hardest part is the unknown and I think that’s in any job, so it’s something you have to deal with as a professional, but you can’t let it affect your on-ice performance.”

Kane was asked if he’s been told that he’s going to be moved. Kane said, “I’m not going to get into what has or hasn’t been talked about.”

For the short time I’ve known Kane, he usually knows who says what about him. He has a twitter account that can be active at times. He said, “I’m aware of what’s going on and I have social media, but do I spend all day looking at it? Absolutely not, but who knows? I’ve known guys that have found out via social media before anybody else knows.”

Phil Housley was traded many times as a player. He knows what they’re feeling in the locker room, “Your first trade is always difficult, but I always felt it was easier getting traded in the summer because you’re in the midst of trying to find a place to live, trying to get to your surroundings and get comfortable you know, doctors and schools for your kids, so that’s always the difficult part of it.”

Josh Gorges has played for San Jose, Montreal and Buffalo so he’s been traded twice. Gorges is 33-years-old and could provide some depth on the blue line for a playoff team. He said when thinking about trades, it’s all about his family, that’s what makes this a nervous time, “Yes, I think it is, but for myself, the biggest thing is you think about your family because everything is up in the air, it’s out of my control and I can’t do anything about it, but if something does happen, you don’t see your wife, you don’t see your kids, they’re by themselves, it’s tough on her, so that’s what I think about in this situation.

“Any player would love to be in an opportunity to win the Cup, especially not having that opportunity yet, but a lot of what I do now in my life is based upon my family and what’s best for them.”

Benoit Pouliot and Jacob Josefson decided they wanted to come to Buffalo and signed one-year deals. Both could be dealt by Monday. Pouliot said he doesn’t really let it play on his mind and there are no nerves about it, “No, not really. I don’t think about it at all actually. I haven’t seen or heard anything.

“I’ve been in this situation before a lot. When you’re young it’s a different mindset, you don’t really know what to expect, but as you get older, the business part of it, the hockey part of it, you think about it a little bit, but I try not to.”

Pouliot came to Buffalo for a reason and he’s liked it so far. He does not want to leave, “I would love to stay here, I really like it, the boys are great. It sucks losing obviously and it’s got to get fixed, but I really like it here.”

Josefson hasn’t given much thought to being traded. He said, “I like it here, I just focus on being here. It’s nothing I think about and whatever happens, happens.”

Ryan O’Reilly likely isn’t going to be moved, but he’s lived through trade deadlines in Buffalo and Colorado. He said as teammates, they help each other get through the deadline, “When we’re having a season like we are, it’s frustrating, you don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s a tough thing in the game of hockey, but we just take it one day at a time and focus on the next day.

“It’s going to happen, so whatever is going on, we must stick together.”

Just like Kane, O’Reilly know what’s being said, He said, “You hear rumors that fly around, but it’s just something that happens. It’s just part of the game.”

Robin Lehner practiced with the team on Wednesday and said the last two days on the ice have gone very well and he’s ready to play.

The Sabres left for Detroit after practice. They play the Red Wings on Thursday and are in Washington on Saturday.