LATEST TRADE CHATTER ON SABRES MILLER, OTT AND STAFFORD
Watching Ryan Miller play behind the Sabres woeful defense, he’s not going to know what to do for himself when he gets traded to a team in the coming weeks that can play some kind of resemblance of NHL defense. The goalie market is soft for Miller with the likes of Minnesota and Washington kicking the tires, along with the St. Louis Blues, but one scenario to watch is with Carolina.
NHL sources say there’s been some exploratory talks between the Hurricanes and Sabres regarding a goalie blockbuster with Ryan Miller going to Carolina as a rental for a run to make the playoffs and Cam Ward going to Buffalo to be apart of the Sabres rebuild.
Ward, 29, has two years left on his contract with a cap hit of $6.3 million cap hit and is due $6.7 million in 2014-2015 and $6.8 million in 2015-2016. With interest in moving Ward’s salary and a sense that he needs a change of scenery, Carolina is exploring trade opportunities for Ward. Ward, though, has a no trade clause which complicates things.
OTT SHOWED HIS VALUE WEDNESDAY NIGHT
Watching Steve Ott Wednesday night vs the Penguins, you see why the Sabres have received calls from as many as 15 clubs. Ott who had a game high six hits, was a pest from the start, delivering a hard hit Harry Zolnierczyk and in the second period made a sneaky/dirty type hit in front of the Penguins net on Sidney Crosby.
Ott is the type of player who would drive the Penguins nuts in a seven game series, were he to end up with a team that plays Pittsburgh in the playoffs The usual suspects in the East are all chasing him, including the Rangers who are looking to add some sandpaper. Imagine Ott joining the Bruins bottom-6.
The sense around the league on Ott, though, is that interest is so high it’s not a stretch that the Sabres couldn’t get a first rounder for him or at least a 2nd round pick and a very good prospect. He’s looked at as the one player on the market a team is likely to overpay for, especially if he lands with a middle of a pack playoff team that only win a round or two, but if you’re a true Cup Contender, Ott’s value is measured in a lot of ways.
The Penguins are among the teams with some interest but said to be scared off for now on the asking price.
STAFFORD AN INTRIGUING PLAYER
Meanwhile, I kept a close eye on Drew Stafford last night and he has a lot of tools to like. Excellent size at 6-2, 220, decent speed and a good skill set. The problem with Stafford is that he’s as frustrating as a player as it gets. After a 31 goal season in 2010-2011, Stafford has dipped to 20 goals in 2011-2012, 6 goals in 2013 and just 9 goals this season. Scouts, though, still like Stafford and feel he needs a change of scenery. “Who does he really have to play with”?, one scout said via text last night of Stafford. “The Vanek’s, Pominville’s and Connolly’s are all gone. In the right situation, he’s worth the gamble”
The gamble is Stafford still has one year left on his contract with a cap hit of $4 million per season.
Stafford has flourished in the past when he’s had some top centerman to play with and he’s worth a call from the Penguins end if the Sabres are willing to take on some of the cap hit.
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