Insider Reveals Update on Erik Johnson Trade Options for Sabres


The Buffalo Sabres brought in Stanley Cup winning veteran defenseman Erik Johnson this season because hoped that adding a winner and great leader for the locker room could help propel the team to take the next step in its ascent up the NHL ladder. 

But the season has not gone as expected in Buffalo, and now that they've lost top pairing D-man Mattias Samuelsson for the season, it's not likely to get any better. Their playoff hopes for this year are pretty much dashed. They're a full 10 points back of the Wild Card spots in the East.

Does this all mean that it's even more likely that they'll trade the impending UFA Johnson at the upcoming trade deadline? 

According to NHL Insider Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic, not necessarily. 

The Sabres will get calls on him closer to March 8, in part because of his Stanley Cup-winning experience. Obviously, the Sabres are not in a position where they won’t listen. But it’s because Johnson is such a positive character veteran that the Sabres brought him in to begin with. And that leadership might be more valuable the rest of the year than a middling draft pick.

And with Samuelsson out, their D corps needs Johnson even more. The veteran is on a one-year, $3.25M deal. 

The 35-year-old has posted three goals in 41 games this season, but he isn't known for his offense. There are plenty of playoff contenders who would love to get their hands on the former No. 1 overall pick to beef up their blueline for a Stanley Cup run. 

In the end, posits LeBrun, it'll likely come down to Johnson's preference. Sabres GM Kevyn Adams will sit down with Pat Brisson, the D-man's agent, and they'll determine if Johnson has a desire to move to any certain destinations, should the opportunity arise. Buffalo is quite likely make it Johnson's call. 

 Photo: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports