Insider: Erik Johnson "A Name To Watch" At Trade Deadline

Things didn't quite go as planned this season for the Buffalo Sabres, who came into the campaign hoping to finally be a playoff contender once again. Now, 48 games in, they're just 21-23-4 and 7th place in the Atlantic Division and will have to put those playoff plans on hold for a 13th straight year. 

According to NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman on his 32 Thoughts podcast, that makes former Stanley Cup champion and ex-No. 1 overall pick Erik Johnson a name to watch as we approach March 8th.

It makes a lot of sense to me. Erik Johnson is on a one-year contract, and not a big number, $3.25M... and he's only a couple of years removed from a Stanley Cup championship... I just had some people say, 'watch this one, there's gonna be interest in Erik Johnson'.  This is the kind of guy (teams) love adding for the playoffs.

Two years ago, the big defenseman played a huge role in the Colorado Avalanche's run to the Cup, posting 10 points in 20 games with a plus/minus rating of +10.

His minutes are down a bit as he's into his age-35 season (turning 36 in March), but the 6'4", 225-pounder is still in great shape, and can be a great presence on the ice and in any locker room during a playoff run. He has three points in 41 games this season, but once again is on the plus-side of the ledger with a plus-2 rating. 

He's been day-to-day with an upper-body injury for the past week or so, but was back on the ice at practice on Friday and should return to action just after the All-Star Break in plenty of time to get up to speed for prospective buyers. 

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