Scouting the trade market: Buffalo and their many forwards

December 19, 2017, by


Game by game, period by period, the need for the Rangers to acquire center depth becomes more and more evident. The Metro Division is a dogfight, and the Rangers were an inconsistent mess with Mika Zibanejad. If one player can have that much impact on the lineup, then it’s a flawed lineup (something we knew already).

There is a good argument for selling assets at the deadline and moving forward with Filip Chytil and Lias Andersson behind Zibanejad next year. No matter where you fall on the side of that discussion, we all know the Rangers won’t go that route. Let’s stick to real life, where the Rangers make a deal to contend this year. We know it’s happening (barring an epic collapse). May as well accept it.

The Buffalo Sabres are one of the handful of teams that is already guaranteed to miss the playoffs. Buffalo should be better than they are, but a few bad signings have ruined their ability to add useful depth behind their talented core. I think it’s safe to assume that everyone outside of Jack Eichel is available for the Sabres.

Evander Kane

Kane is one of the most talented players in the league who isn’t put it all together. This year, however, he’s at least back to his talent level. His 14-17-31 line in 33 games would certainly be a nice addition to the roster. Kane is also a pending UFA, so the cost is going to be lower than some of the other cost controlled players.

The downside to Kane is two-fold. The first is that as a LW, he fills a hole where one doesn’t exist. Chris Kreider, Rick Nash, and Michael Grabner have that fort held down nicely. That’s a relatively small concern, though.

The second is how Kane would behave in New York. The Rangers have a history of acquiring players with questionable behavior issues, most recently Anthony DeAngelo, although Sean Avery is still the poster boy here. The talent level is undeniable, but the off-ice issues might be a concern. That said, we haven’t heard much about him this year, which is likely a good thing.

When it comes to price, I’m pretty sure the Sabres will listen to anything and will stock up on the best players available, as opposed to targeting specific positions. The Rangers have the combination of picks and kids to get it done. But is that truly the path they want to go? Remember Eric Staal?

Zemgus Girgensons/Johan Larsson

Both guys are centers, but both guys are certainly under performing. Girgensons, a former first round pick, has some name brand value. But let’s be real, neither of these guys fit what the Rangers are looking for. Both are a hard pass. The club has better internal options, like Boo Nieves.

Benoit Pouliot

Let’s not revisit this unless there’s a major injury. Pouliot is a nice middle-six LW, but again doesn’t fix any of the real issues on the team. Same goes for Jason Pominville, who is much more expensive ($5.6 million) than Pouliot.

Sam Reinhart

Reinhart is certainly an interesting name that has popped up in chatter. Reinhart, another former first round pick (second overall), is not meeting the expectations that come with being drafted that high. That said, he’s still a 45-50 point player on a pretty terrible team. He’s a center that also plays RW, so there’s some JT Miller-esque versatility there as well. He’s on the last year of his ELC, so he’s cost controlled too. He checks a lot of boxes.

The Blueshirts will need to cough up a decent amount to land him, though. I’m not talking Nick Holden and Michael Grabner, either. You need to give to get in this league, and getting a 22-year-old that is already a 45-50 point player won’t come cheap. It’s going to cost someone you don’t want to part with.

Ryan Gropp, who is also 22, is not even a conversation starter here. Neither is the 30-point Jimmy Vesey. The conversation likely begins with Sean Day or Anthony DeAngelo, and then a roster player like Vesey. Even then, it likely isn’t enough. Perhaps I’m just overvaluing Reinhart. Perhaps I’m also down on Jeff Gorton and how he’s botched a few trades since he took the reigns from Glen Sather. I think Reinhart would be a great get, but am terrified of the cost.

"Scouting the trade market: Buffalo and their many forwards", 1 out of 5 based on 13 ratings.


  1. Richter1994 says:

    Reinhart is the guy I would want but at what trade cost? At this point if it cost the Rangers DeAngelo and a 3rd round pick then I think I would do it. Put him at C with Miller and Grabner as his wings.

    Kane is on a contract year and he does this every time that he’s due a new contract, play like he should every year of his contract, no thanks.

    • James1090 says:

      Reinhart would be my main target as well. I think a change of scenery would be good for him. Buffalo is a disaster.

      I want no part of Kane. He’s talented, but he never gives his all. Disappears
      for stretches and has been known as a locker room problem.

      I think if the Rangers wanted to upgrade the 4th line center then Girgensons could be looked at.

    • Egelstein says:

      If DeAngelo and a 3rd gets it done for Reinhart, you gotta do that. Doubt it does…but if so, that would be splendid. While Sam may be a “disappointment” in Buffalo, his 45-50 points there could easily become 55-60+ elsewhere with more talent around him. I’m not as down on DeAngelo as some who already believe he is clearly a complete bust…but he hasn’t impressed me, by any means, either. Whether it’s his attitude or his play, or more likely some combo of both, his window to break through in the league seems to be closing rapidly as he struggles to perform and even to simply get ice time in Hartford.

      I’m leery of Kane as well for the same reasons as James. I won’t go as far as to say I wouldn’t consider dealing for him…but the price would have to be quite reasonable, considering that I would fully expect him to test the market after the season. He doesn’t seem like the type of dude who would be soft at the negotiation table in terms of price.

    • ..... says:

      Tony and a 3rd for Reinhart ain’t getting it done…Cmon guys.

  2. Peter says:

    Thanks Dave. You say that it is inevitable that the Rangers will make a deal at the deadline, but the rest of your article demonstrates why it is a lousy idea. They will pay too much for too little. They are not one player away from being a real cup contender. Eric Staal indeed.

  3. SalMerc says:

    I don’t want anything from Buffalo. Get me Bozak.

  4. Mancunian Candidate says:

    No thanks to any Sabres. Garbage organization from top to bottom, all any of these players know how to do is lose consistently at the NHL level. Kane is an immature, predatory individual who’s demonstrated gross & violent off-ice behavior in both of his pro stops—the guy should never wear a Ranger sweater for that alone, never mind the inevitably excessive cost of his acquisition.

    Any of the other players are lifelong members of a crappy organization that hasn’t been to the playoffs while they’ve been there. Stay the hell away from Buffalo, and be wise, Gorton….

  5. genetics73 says:

    Kane would be a disastrous acquisition – the man sows discord everywhere he goes and is a border-line misfit. Stay away, please!

  6. Joseph Giambra says:

    Reinhart is the only guy I would consider, but with Chytil and Anderson in the organization with both looking at promotions sooner rather than later, I think the move foolish.

    Honestly, they should try to re-shape the core.
    Something of the likes of Brassard for Zibenajad type deal. I’m thinking McDonaugh for Trouba. This let’s them move Smith back to his natural left side. They can then deal Holden and bring up 1 of Deangelo, Pionk, or Sproul. This move doesnt hurt this year either.

    I would also deal Nash at the deadline for pick/ prospect. I just wouldn’t pass that up. And try extending Grabber as well… speed kills!

    Anyways, LET’S GO RANGERS!!!

    • RichS says:

      Big YES on all your points!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Egelstein says:

      All depends on the cost. If you can rob Buffalo to get Reinhart now, you do that without batting an eye. If in one or two years’ time you have more young centers performing at adequate levels than you know what to do with, that’s a good problem to have. The option to move Reinhart to winger and have a good comfort level that he could perform there also means that they wouldn’t necessarily even need to trade one of Mika, Hayes, Chytil, Anderson, or Reinhart (presuming of course that Hayes is retained for next year and beyond) if that were the case.

      He is from Vancouver, though…so if he roots/rooted for the hometown team, he might not think very highly of AV…

      All of that being said, I know Reinhart has provided subpar production so far this year…but other than that, I don’t know why Buffalo would trade him for less than a good haul of futures. It’s clear that he has skill even if not what was hoped for his draft position, and at just 22, likely has not yet peaked. However, if Buffalo was going the overreaction route and shopping him at a reasonable price, I’d be all over it if I was Gorton. This is vastly different than a pure “win now” trade a la E. Staal, or what Kane could be – Reinhart could help this year, and beyond.

      • Peter says:

        Reinhart is the type of guy I’d like to see them acquire, but only if the Rangers are sellers are the deadline and are fleecing other teams, not getting fleeced. If they are buyers then the Rangers will fork over too much. I’d rather they construct a team for next season and beyond by scoring big at the deadline.

  7. Leatherneck says:

    I am on the same page as most on here…..Reinhart or nothing
    Absolutely NO to Kane

  8. Ray says:

    I am skeptical that we can count on anything. The offseason moves Gorton made strongly suggested that he simply didn’t see a 2018 Cup in the cards. They did not help the team for the short run. To be consistent, any deadline lines should be focused as much on the long as on the short term. Giving up assets for a rental is something I just don’t see JG doing this year.

    I think Gorton will be loathe to give up a first or second round draft choice or a quality prospect. And I think he will be looking to help the 2020 Çup effort.

    That said, if the Rangers have faith in a Reinhart, they could trade one youthful asset for another. They could deal for a Karlsson only if they thought they could keep him long term. And of course they are willing to deal prospects who are not in their plans. If you have a kid you don’t expect to contribute – and you can get something for him now – why not?

  9. Chris says:

    “The Metro Division is a dogfight, and the Rangers were an inconsistent mess WITH Mika Zibanejad.”



    (or whatever they say in news biz!!)


  10. joelish says:

    I don’t see Nash getting traded. I think the organization likes him to much. As a player and as a person. He is a weathered athlete with a skill set not many have. Look at what the Leafs gave Marleu …he is going to be expensive. If he goes that route then he is traded. I hope he likes it here and comes down to meet the organizations offer.
    Agree with everyone Kane is garbage. He is a player you pick up if you are close to the Cup. Not trying to rebuild on the fly.
    Reinhart is the answer…. it is just whether or not Buffalo wants a kings ransom. Which everyone has stated he is a 50 point player on a bad team. And real bad team. Only going to drive his perceived value up.
    Now here is the best and most likely deal.
    Joe Thorton comes from San Jose to hang out in NY in his later stages.
    Deal could be anything from a pick to some horrible prospect. More then likely he is coming here next year so San jose gets it done to get something for him.
    It is a good move for next season because he can bring up the kids and really teach them the in’s and outs of being a center in the NHL …this is a guy who has seen it all. You would not pay him to play a point per game player. you are paying him to teach these kids. And he fills a hole we so badly need filled. He never get undressed but he wont light up the score board. It is one thing this organization hasnt had and needs very badly. A center with real heart. Step just never had it. Mika is into music. Hayes is just happy to play anything. Closest thing to a real hard nose center was Dom Moore. And that is saying alot. Dom is and was a leader but his frame just never suited his mind.
    Point is you dont win cups with blazay players. Hockey may not but as rough as it used to be but certainly are not going to win cups when a ex teamate sucker punches your number 1 center and nobody makes him bloody for it. Or a nobody winger takes a full speed shoulder check to your goalie behind the net. And people just let him keep skating. And the hardest player out there just wraps him up 5 minutes later.
    Reading a Messier career recap. And man he was a beast. His will and determination won us that cup.
    No one on this team looks like they have that besides Hank. All of them fold over like Marion Gaborik when he sees a check coming his way. Is there anyone who even remotely reminds you of Paul O’neil snapping a bat over his knee when he stuck out and the yankees were up 8 to 1 in the 7th inning and all hell would be broken lose on the bench. I always felt bad for the water cooler in that moment. We need more grit. These no show games are exactly what happens when there is no one holding them accountable in the locker room.
    Trade Mac and get the best possible deal for him. He is soft and lost. Always has been.

  11. Jake W says:

    Tony D and a 2nd round pick/Holden for Reinhart shoukd do the trick..

    • Jake W says:

      And really don’t think bringing in another Winger is gonna help much. Unless we’re talking Max Pac who’s gonna be a free agent and likely sign with us in the off-season so just wait. So if it’s not a top 6 center we’re talking about then I’m not interested.

    • lv says:

      Who would want DeAngelo? He is struggling in the AHL.