After a weekend filled with significant deals, much of the drama surrounding the NHL trade deadline has dissipated. Buffalo is one of the teams still on the clock.
The Sabres have arrived at deadline day with pending unrestricted free agents Jamie McGinn, Chad Johnson, David Legwand and Carlo Colaiacovo still on the roster. McGinn is one of the more notable names remaining after fellow forwards Eric Staal, Dale Weise, Tomas Fleischmann, Jiri Hudler and Teddy Purcell were dealt as part of an 11-trade weekend.
It’s unlikely the Sabres will re-sign McGinn before Monday’s 3 p.m. deadline. He is expected to bring back a second- or third-round pick in a trade, though the Sabres could sweeten the deal by adding players, draft picks or salary retention to any transaction. Florida and Los Angeles reportedly have interest in McGinn.
After Saturday’s 2-0 loss in Los Angeles, the forward said he expected a phone call informing him of a deal.
“There’s no news,” McGinn’s agent, Thane Campbell, said Sunday by phone. “There’s just nothing going on that I’m going to say anything about.”
McGinn is fifth on the Sabres in goals (14) and points (27). Other forwards on the UFA market include Toronto’s P-A Parenteau (15 goals) and Arizona’s Mikkel Boedker (14).
The big prize isn’t a UFA. Tampa Bay is still shopping 20-year-old Jonathan Drouin, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft. Buffalo General Manager Tim Murray has had regular conversations with the Lightning about Drouin, but other teams have moved to the forefront in recent days, a source with knowledge of the situation said Sunday.
There likely won’t be much demand or return for the Sabres’ other UFAs, specifically Johnson. St. Louis and San Jose, teams in need of a backup goaltender, filled the position elsewhere.
Colorado waived Reto Berra on Sunday, meaning a team can pick up a netminder with comparable stats to Johnson for free rather than give up something for the Sabres goalie.
Legwand could fill a penalty-killing need on a playoff team looking for experience. Colaiacovo is a regular scratch in Buffalo and would fall deep on a contender’s depth chart.
The only surefire transaction in Buffalo on Monday will be the demotion of Justin Bailey and Cal O’Reilly to Rochester. Players need to be on a minor-league roster at 3 p.m. in order to play in the American Hockey League postseason. Buffalo can recall the forwards at 3:01 p.m., making the moves merely paper transactions.
The Sabres are scheduled to be off Monday. They host Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday.
The Oilers may be an intriguing team on deadline day. First-year GM Peter Chiarelli has no desire to remain a perennial punching bag, which could lead to deals involving young forwards such as Nail Yakupov or Jordan Eberle.
The New York Rangers took some of the fun out of deadline day by acquiring Staal from Carolina on Sunday. The Stanley Cup-winning captain joined the Rangers in exchange for second-round picks in 2016 and 2017, plus forward prospect Aleksi Saarela.
“Eric has been the face of this franchise for a long time, and we thank him for his dedication, leadership and many contributions on and off the ice over the years,” Hurricanes GM Ron Francis said. “We felt this was an important opportunity for us to continue our work in building an organization that can consistently compete in the Stanley Cup playoffs.”