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The Sabres Observer

Sabres 30 Watch - Part 2: Left-Wingers

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 Part 1, we went over a list of defensemen.

Today, let's take a look at left-wingers.

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

Brandon Saad, 22, RFA
A big part of the team in Chicago that just won the Stanley Cup, it's very clear that he's an important piece of their future. This isn't what fans of the Sabres and other teams want to hear, but you aren't getting him with an offer sheet. The Blackhawks will shed salary where necessary and match it -- end of story.

Patrick Sharp, 33, $5.9M per season through 2016-17
Had a disappointing season with the Blackhawks and could be free falling into the downside of his career. He'll likely be traded to a contender hoping to get a resurgence out of him, but he's not a fit for Buffalo.

Rick Nash, 31, $7.9M per season through 2017-18
The Rangers have cap issues, and they could make some fancy moves elsewhere to keep Nash, or they could trade him to free up space. The 42-goal scorer has some say in where he can be traded, and it's hard to believe he'd be up for joining a rebuild in Buffalo. I like the player but think it's too soon for the Sabres to pursue someone who is at this stage of his career.

Alexander Steen, 31, $5.8M per season through 2016-17
He's 31 but coming off a career year offensively with 24 goals and 64 points. But he has a no-trade clause and one could guess he'd prefer to join a contender. Blues are in the mood to wheel and deal but it's not worth it for the Sabres to give up picks and prospects to try acquiring Steen.

Mike Hoffman, 25, RFA *** EDITORS CHOICE ***

OK, this could be a long shot, but Ottawa has some painful cap-related decisions to make and someone has to go. Hoffman had a stellar 27-goal season but it was his first strong campaign. The 2009 5th-round pick is only 25. Played a big part in Ottawa's surprise run to the playoffs.

Matt Beleskey, 27, UFA

The 2006 4th-round pick of the Ducks had 22 goals but only 10 assists in 65 games. His goal total would have been lower if not for a rather fortunate 15.2 shooting percentage, which was almost double from the year before. Someone will overpay him by a mile.

For me, Hoffman is the play here. He has a lot of speed on the wing, but some untimely giveaways knocked him down to playing 12 minutes a night on the 4th line towards the end of the season. It won't be easy to pry him away, but it's worth a shot. Tim Murray won't offer sheet him but would be smart to call his uncle and try to cook something up. It will take some pain in terms of digging into Buffalo's prospect pool, but Murray wants quality young forwards, and the Sabres could really use one on the left side.


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Filed in: | The Sabres Observer | Permalink
  Tags: sabres+free+agency, 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.

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