Category archive: Buffalo Sabres
The trade deadline always has a different meaning for different teams. And just like always the 2013 deadline saw several NHL clubs making moves to strengthen their future by dealing for young assets. But how did they do in spinning off their veterans to contending teams and building their prospect pipelines? Here's an evaluation of several teams that were able to restock their farm system and how their prospect pools now project.
Acquired: C/W Johan Larsson, G Matt Hackett, Minnesota's first round pick in 2013 and 2nd round pick in 2014; St Louis' 2nd round pick and conditional 5th round pick in 2013. Los Angeles' 2nd round picks in 2014 and 2015
Traded: W Jason Pominville, D Robyn Regehr, D Jordan Leopold
Larsson was Minnesota's second-round pick in 2010 and was the top scoring U20 player in the Swedish Elite League last season as well as that league's rookie of the year. He has been good in the AHL this season, with scouts saying he has displayed good play in both ends. He's a smart, hard-working player who may not be blessed with a ton of skill but his very good offensive instincts could potentially make him an above-average regular in the NHL. Hackett is a decent goalie prospect with good athletic skills who became more expendable for Minnesota with the great play of fellow young goaltender Darcy Kuemper.
Larsson joins a good emerging corps of young forwards in Buffalo. Cody Hodgson, Marcus Foligno, Mikhail Grigorenko, Brian Flynn and Luke Adam are among those who have played in the NHL this year, with other top prospects such as Zemgus Girgensons and Daniel Catenacci projected to be in Buffalo down the line.
Larsson is the best of the two prospects going to Buffalo, is close to NHL-ready and in terms of prospect value is close to a player like Girgensons, who was a first round pick for Buffalo last summer. Hackett still needs development time, plus he may have to battle for ice time even in Rochester -- Buffalo's AHL affiliate -- as their goaltender, David Leggio, is one of the A's top goalies.
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