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Steve Ott: Should Sabres keep or move him?

Saturday, 03.23.2013 / 1:05 AM / 2013 Trade Deadline

By Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Heading into the summer of 2012, Buffalo Sabres general manager Darcy Regier set out to upgrade his team's toughness, and found just the right player, forward Steve Ott of the Dallas Stars.

The trade cost was center Derek Roy, but with a host of high-skill players, the line of thought was the Sabres could part with some of them to add some extra grit. While the result hasn't been positive, it's not because of Ott, whose presence has allowed the Sabres' more skilled players to skate a bit more freely.

But with the Sabres sitting near the bottom of the Eastern Conference, will another team value Ott's gritty style enough to interest Regier in another trade?

NHL.com examines the pros and cons to the Sabres making Ott available to move prior to the April 3, 2013 NHL Trade Deadline:

STEVE OTT

Position: Center

Age: 30

Statistics: 31 games, 5 goals, 12 assists, 17 points

Salary status: Ott is signed through the 2013-14 season, with a $2.95 million salary-cap hit.

Keep him: The Sabres decided last summer to trade a bit of skill for a healthy dose of sandpaper, sending Roy to the Stars for Ott. The gritty forward has done a solid job despite a rough season. Ott skated on a line with rookie Mikhail Grigorenko prior to the 2012 first-round pick being returned to his junior team, and the match worked for both the youngster and the veteran. If the Sabres are going to start bringing up some younger players, they'll need someone to stand up for them at times, and Ott has made a career of defending his teammates.

Move him: Ott provides the type of skill set that usually shines at Stanley Cup Playoff time. He's strong on faceoffs, tough in all three zones, and a beast to play against. With Ott signed through the end of next season, the return package could be that much greater.

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It means a lot to us, we're very excited. We're looking to continue to build on [our] top core talent of young players. It's just a great opportunity for us to really build high.

— Panthers vice president of hockey operations Travis Viola after Florida won the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft Lottery