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The Sabres Observer

Sabres 30 Watch - Part 4: Centers

I've taken the liberty of reviewing 30 players -- free agents and others possibly available to acquire via trade -- for Sabres fans to watch this offseason.

Some of them are on the list because I think they'd be a good fit in Buffalo, and others made it simply due to insider reports and the latest buzz from the hockey world.

In Parts 1, 2 and 3, we went over defensemen, left-wingers and right-wingers.

Today, let's take a look at centers.

(name, age, status or cap hit/term)

Tyler Toffoli, 23, RFA

The Sabres have yearned for this emerging star since Darcy Regier unsuccessfully tried luring him away for Jason Pominville. Registering 23 goals and 49 points this past season, the 2010 2nd-round pick of the Kings is developing into an elite player -- which is why the Kings will match any offer sheet. Toffoli isn't going anywhere.

David Backes, 31, $4.5M per season through 2015-16

The Blues are looking to make some changes to their top two lines, and Backes is a prominent name in trade talks. His numbers have stayed consistent over the past few years. But his age and having only one year left on his contract could be deterrents for the Sabres.

Ryan O'Reilly, 24, $6M per season through 2015-16 *** EDITORS CHOICE ***

Buffalo could really use one more top-6 forward, and getting another 24-year old to go with Evander Kane would really turbo-charge the rebuild. One of the top players in even strength points-per-60 minutes in the league last season while playing for an underperforming Colorado team.

Jordan Staal, 26, $6M per season through 2022-23

Four-time 20-goal scorer who has been slowed by injuries in the past few years. Spent four seasons playing for Dan Bylsma in Pittsburgh. I'm not interested in that massive contract for this player.

Brandon Sutter, 26, $3.3M per season through 2015-16

A third-liner in Pittsburgh who could hypothetically be a second-liner on a few other teams, but his contract only has one year left. Hasn't reached the 40-point mark in five seasons.

Jiri Tlusty, 27, UFA

The Leafs drafted him 13th overall in 2006, and they gave up on him rather quickly. Hasn't been able to consistently hit the 20-goal mark (he's done that once) but has the flexibility of being able to play center or left-wing, and is still young at age 27.

The recommendation here is O'Reilly in a landslide. There may not be one available player who would be a better fit for the Sabres. The risk is that, like Backes and Sutter, he only has a year left on his contract. If the Sabres can get some assurance of getting him an extension, it would behoove them to swing for the fences and get it done.


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Sabres draft contest - Win a $20 gift card and a shirt from Amherst Pizza & Ale House! Just pick the second player (Eichel will most certainly be the first) whom the Sabres will select in Friday's draft!

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  Tags: sabres+trade+rumors


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About The Sabres Observer

Dave Davis has covered the Buffalo Sabres for various NHL accredited websites and newspapers since 2003.  He was the senior writer and Sabres correspondent for The Fourth Period, covered hockey for Western New York Sports and Leisure Magazine, and has had articles featured on NHL.com, FOX Sports, Yahoo Sports and in New York Sportscene.  Sabres news and notes can be found on his Twitter page.

2014-15 NHL Reverse Standings


Email: dd@kuklaskorner.com Twitter: [@DaveDavisHockey]