Sabres made big strides this offseason, and may not be done yet


  • Sabres aren’t done dealing this summer. Given their depth on defense, Botterill could peddle Ristolainen for a top-six forward.
  • One rumored suggestion is dangling him to the Winnipeg Jets for winger Nikolaj Ehlers, or perhaps a package of young forward Jack Roslovic and veteran Mathieu Perreault.
  • O’Brien also wondered if the Edmonton Oilers would be open to a Ristolainen-for-Ryan Nugent-Hopkins swap.
  • Again, people get excited about the idea of Ristolainen being traded, as he’s prominent enough to be part of a blockbuster, as his $5.4M cap hit is both movable and large enough to be part of a hefty deal.
  • Sabres fans should salivate at some of the names thrown out there, as they could provide that one extra piece that truly rounds out a top-heavy offense into being nicely balanced.
  • After losing Myers and Jacob Trouba, Jets could be very interested in acquiring  Ristolainen?
  • Ehlers, in particular, excites as a buy-low trade, but he’s not the only option.
  • Oilers would bite on Ristolainen for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins trade, poor Edmonton fans might get another taste of Peter Chiarelli-style blunders even after Chiarelli’s been replaced by Ken Holland.
  • If it’s Ehlers, that player could pan out and bring a lot more to the table than Ristolainen, who profiles as a deeply flawed player.

  • According to Cap Friendly, the Jets currently have $22.9 million in cap space with the four aforementioned players left to sign.
  • If we use Evolving Hockey’s contract projections we can get an idea of roughly how much space they’ll have left after signing all four players.
  • So, let’s say they sign for the following cap hits:

Laine: $7 million
Connor: $7 million
Pionk: $2.93 million
Copp: $2.17 million

  • That would leave the Jets with roughly $3.8 million in cap space with those contracts added in.
  • It’s possible Laine or Connor could come in higher, while at the same time the other two contracts could come in at a lower cap hit.
  • The Jets can make that cap space work this season, but the catch is their issues don’t go away next summer.




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