Sabres Rumors: Caveat Exists For 2 Players On The Trade Market

Things haven’t gone quite as expected this season for the Buffalo Sabres, and they will be looking to sell off a couple of expiring contracts by the trade deadline. But according to insider David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period, they’ll have to do a little massaging of those contracts to make it happen.

Pagnotta reports that both Victor Olafsson and Erik Johnson are on the trade block, but he adds that at their current cap hits the Sabres will have to retain some funds on each of them in order to entice other teams to make a deal.

Johnson is on a one-year, $3.25 million cap hit, but at the age of 35, the defenceman has seen his minutes further slashed this season to just 14 per game, and he’s registered just three points in 39 contests. The former No. 1 overall pick (2006) is many years past his heyday but does own a Stanley Cup ring from his regular duty with the 2022 Colorado Avalanche.

Olafsson‘s production and time on ice are also drastically reduced this season, as he shockingly has just four goals and 12 points in 31 games while playing just under 12 minutes a night, even suffering a few healthy scratches recently. He’s also on an expiring contract, but with a much heavier cap hit at $4.75 million. He’s still only 28 however, and has three 20-goal seasons to his credit in the previous four years, including 28 markers last season.

The $4.75M would certainly seem like a hefty price to pay for his current production, but if the Sabres are willing to retain more than a couple of million there’s no doubt there will be some takers on the chance that Olafsson can return to his 20-goal ways.

The Sabres still have all three of their retention slots available so there’s certainly room for them to make these types of concessions.

Buffalo has been a huge disappointment this season, currently at 19–21–4, and in sixth place in the Atlantic Division. That leaves them a full seven points back of a Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference with a slew of teams ahead of them to leapfrog. They were actually predicted in some circles to stand a good chance of making the playoffs for the first time in 13 seasons, and possibly even win a round for the first time in 17 years. 

 Photo: Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports