With the 2016 NHL Trade Deadline approaching at 3 p.m. ET on Monday, Feb. 29, NHL.com is taking a close look at what moves teams might be looking to make and whether they'll be buyers or sellers. Today, the Buffalo Sabres.
Record: 21-26-6, 47 points; 7th in Atlantic Division; 8th in Eastern Conference Wild Card
Unrestricted free agents: David Legwand, C; Jamie McGinn, LW; Mike Weber, D; Carlo Colaiacovo, D; Chad Johnson, G.
Restricted free agents: Marcus Foligno, LW; Zemgus Girgensons, C; Johan Larsson, C; Nicolas Deslauriers, LW; Rasmus Ristolainen, D; Jake McCabe, D.
Projected 2016 Draft picks: 11 (1 first)
Projected 2017 Draft picks: 8 (1 first)
Needs: Top-four left-shot defenseman, scoring depth on the wing
Players Potentially in Play: McGinn, Weber, Legwand, Johnson, Colaiacovo
Likely status: Seller
Skinny: The Sabres are improved compared to where they were the past two seasons but they're still near the bottom of the standings. Ryan O'Reilly has emerged as a team leader, Ristolainen looks like a building-block player on defense, and rookies Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart are growing into important players. Even though Evander Kane hasn't scored as much as he would like, he's been a team leader in shots on goal and hits. Forwards Matt Moulson and Tyler Ennis have had the worst offensive seasons of their NHL careers, and Ennis also has missed time because of injuries. Coach Dan Bylsma, who never missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs in his six seasons as coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins, almost certainly won't get there in his first season with the Sabres. But Bylsma has made them a more responsible team defensively and in possessing the puck. Buffalo has many young players on the roster and more coming soon, but doesn't appear to be likely to make a big splash before the trade deadline. The Sabres have five players on expiring contracts that could be moved to potential playoff teams. In general manager Tim Murray's first two seasons as GM he's shown eagerness to trade at any time but particularly in advance of and during Trade Deadline day.