NHL Trade Deadline: Why the Buffalo Sabres Made All the Right Moves


The NHL Trade Deadline has concluded with the Buffalo Sabres shipping out Paul Gaustad and a fourth-round pick to the Nashville Predators for a first-round pick, and sending Zack Kassian and Marc-Andre Gragnani to the Vancouver Canucks for Cody Hodgson and Alexander Sulzer. The much-scrutinized Sabres GM Darcy Regier should be saluted for his work.

Early morning reports stated that Buffalo was looking for a first-round pick for Gaustad’s services and those around the league scoffed at such a notion. Low and behold, Regier was able to get just that as he waited until the last second to pull the trigger.

The Sabres now have two first-round picks and two second-round picks in this year’s draft that can either be used to acquire more young talent or to land a big name through the trading market. After all, most of the larger trades happen over the course of the offseason and not at the deadline. Look for the Sabres to have another active summer. 

The physical, hard-nosed center will be missed, but no one can argue with what the Sabres got for his services. But what about that hole at the center position?

Regier wasn’t done. Shortly after the deadline, reports trickled in that Zack Kassian had been dealt to the Canucks. Soon after, we found out that 21-year-old center Hodgson was coming to Buffalo. His 16 goals already this season is the third-most on the roster.

Hodgson will only get better and will fill a major void at the center position. Not only does this move help the Sabres moving forward, but it helps them in the present as they still cling to playoff hopes. They may actually be better today than they were yesterday.

On the flip side, Kassian is heading to Vancouver. The physical forward has been struggling all season long in both Rochester and Buffalo. That mean streak that the Sabres coveted from him seemed to be all but missing and his scoring touch has been nowhere to be found.

While Kassian can certainly turn things around in Vancouver as he is a top prospect, he certainly wasn’t getting much done in the Sabres system. 

Some Sabres fans may not be happy with the deadline moves, but the franchise put their money where their mouth is when they said the goal remains to build a Stanley Cup winner and not just strive for short-term gains. 

The future appears to be very bright in Buffalo. 

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