The Buffalo Sabers took a 3-0 lead Monday night and saw their winless skid extended to 18 games with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.
With the team now 22 points away from a playoff berth in the Eastern Division, TSN Hockey insider Pierre LeBrun questioned Monday whether the Sabers would remove Taylor Hall from their roster to protect against injury.
Hall, 29, is a pending unrestricted free agent, raising a cap of $ 8 million on the one-year deal he signed with Buffalo in October. Ranked # 4 on the TSN Trade Bait Board, he has two goals and 18 points in 34 games this season,
Hall is one of eight unrestricted free agents on hold, including defenseman Brandon Montour, who rang after Monday’s collapse.
“This whole stretch is embarrassing, but especially tonight,” Montour said. “Any NHL team – it doesn’t matter who you are – it’s a win.”
Montour, who is ranked No. 15 on the Trade Bait Board, blamed the loss squarely on the Sabers players.
“You go through a time like this, you blame the systems, you blame the coaches, you blame the other lines,” he added. “At the end of the day, you have to be an NHL player. … It must be better from us. It’s (on) the players. It’s all over the 20 guys on the ice.
Athletic’s Murat Ates wonders if the Winnipeg Jets might be better positioned to acquire Alex Goligoski cheaply to improve the blue line than to spend a lot on a player like Mattias Ekholm.
Ates argues Goligoski could be a “low cost, low risk” addition for the Jets, who could avoid parting ways with defensive prospects Logan Stanley, Dylan Samberg and Ville Heinola. He also notes that the Jets could squeeze Goligoski’s expiring cap of $ 5.475 million with little headache if they can withdraw $ 875,000 or more from the deal.
The 35-year-old defenseman, ranked 8th on the TSN Trade Bait Board, has one goal and five points this season. A 903-game NHL veteran, Goligoski has 81 goals and 412 points in his 14 seasons in the league.
An executive told LeBrun and Thomas Drance of The Athletic last week that the Jets would likely have to part ways with Mathieu Perreault, a 2021 first-round pick, and Heinola to land Ekholm, who is signed next season.
As the Jets look to compete until at least 2023-24 – when Connor Hellebuyck, Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele’s deals are all about to expire – Ates believes now is not a good time to mortgage the Jets. future for a playoff series.
New York Post’s Larry Brooks wonders if Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen owes the franchise’s future to move captain Nick Foligno if he can’t extend the 33-year-old before the deadline April 12.
The Blue Jackets have already kept unrestricted free agents on hold for their playoffs in recent seasons, including Artemi Panarin, Sergei Bobrovsky and rentals Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel two years ago. Columbus is currently three points off last playoff spot in the Central Division and is in the midst of a four-game winless skid.
Should Kekalainen choose to move Foligno, Brooks believes he “would fit perfectly into the mold of a Lou Lamoriello-Barry Trotz player” with the New York Islanders.
Foligno has six goals and 13 points in 36 games this season after scoring 10 goals and 31 points in 67 games last season. He carries a cap of $ 5.5 million in the final season of a six-year deal signed with the Blue Jackets in 2014.