The Pittsburgh Penguins are on the hunt to capture their third Stanley Cup in as many years. While the Penguins look to bolster their lineup to make another deep postseason run, the Buffalo Sabres are looking to do the opposite.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are coming off two solid performances in which they outscored the Buffalo Sabres a collective nine goals to one. Pittsburgh is picking up steam but the struggles continue for Buffalo. Could the Pens look to the disheartened squad to enhance their own?
“There’s a sense from other teams that the Sabres are sending signals that they are open for business, and you can ask about anybody whose name is not Jack Eichel,” Hockey Night in Canada contributor Elliotte Friedman said on December 2nd.
It seems like former Pittsburgh Penguins assistant GM Jason Botterill is ready to pull out all the stops. It makes sense, as the Sabres now hold the league’s worse record of 6-17-4. But this poses an important question: who can the Pens poach?
Looking both rosters up and down, it seems like there may not be a whole lot of compatibility here. The Penguins don’t have the luxury of ample cap space to go out and grab a big name. However, some of the most important deals deliver the smallest pieces. That being said, I have picked one forward and defenseman I think the team could benefit from trading for.
He’s lean, he’s mean, and according to CapFriendly.com, he carries a doable 1.6 million a year tag albeit for one more season.
McCabe leads his team in blocked shots (39) and is third in hits (48) while only logging 19:05 minutes of ice time per game. He wouldn’t be the end all solution to anchor a sometimes questionable defensive corps. But his rough style would punish opposing forwards, something the current defense does not do.
Trading for a third line center seems to be all anyone wants to talk about but it won’t work with Buffalo as a dance partner.
Sam Reinhart is an interesting character. A young multi-positional forward with a ton of upside, but the 22 year old will likely call for a large return. I doubt the Penguins can offer anything enticing to Buffalo for the likes of him.
Depth wingers are however, always welcome. How about left winger Benoit Pouliot? Now it wouldn’t be the sexiest of trades. Not by a long shot. But Pouliot plays with an edge (43 hits) and has tallied at least 10 goals in six of his previous seasons.
He could serve as a nice one-off offensive upgrade on the fourth line or be a guy that even sees minutes with Sid or Geno every now and again.
What I like about these two guys is that it wouldn’t take a lot to get them. Keeping the pro club intact while sacrificing as little of the future as possible is the name of the game.
What do you think? Respond in the comments if you agree, or wholeheartedly disagree. If the Buffalo Sabres do have a yard sale, who, if anyone, should the Pittsburgh Penguins pursue?