Buffalo Sabres Are Praying They Lose This Player to Seattle
We've reached the final New York team in our NHL Expansion Draft predictions, the Buffalo Sabres. Naturally, we're saving the most curious case, for last.
For those who did not get a chance to read yesterday's predictions for the New York Rangers and Islanders, both are up on the 104.5 The Team website, and I nonetheless welcome you to this article. The 2021 Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft is tomorrow night, and each team (except for the Golden Knights) will be forced to sacrifice one player to the Kraken, who begin play this fall.
So, each New York team finds itself in a unique situation. The Rangers are relatively safe heading into the draft, with a number of young players ineligible to be chosen. The Islanders have a bit more to lose, and could see either a young prospect or established veteran be chosen.
This brings us to the Buffalo Sabres, the perennial doormat of the National Hockey League. Quite honestly, the Sabres have a number of players that they would love to see join the Seattle Kraken. The team has a number of aging veterans, with large contracts, who do not perform well enough to earn the money that they are paid.
Will any of these albatross contracts get taken by the Kraken? Here's what I'm expecting.
First and foremost, here is the list of players not available to be chosen by the Kraken...
This list features a number of players who the Sabres hope continue to develop, and gradually become the next core of the franchise. Specifically, Dylan Cozens and goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen headline the group. That said, compared to the list the Rangers are sporting, it's really not that special, which says a lot about where the Sabres are as a franchise.
Okay, onto the rest of the players. Those without checkmarks are available to be chosen...
The Sabres requested that Jeff Skinner waive his no-move clause in his contract, allowing the Sabres to make him available to be drafted. Between Skinner and Kyle Okposo, Sabres' fans (and probably management, too) are PRAYING that the Kraken take one of those two players. Losing them would aid the team's rebuild tremendously.
The Kraken have preached saving money, however, so they are unlikely to oblige. In my estimation, they'll try to take young, promising players, much like my predictions for the Rangers and Islanders. Therefore, my pick for the Sabres was right-handed defenseman Will Borgen.
Now, I don't expect Borgen to have a major impact on the Kraken this upcoming season. He is, however, one of the few players that the Sabres have available, who won't immediately become a free agent after the draft. He's just 24 years of age, doesn't make a lot of money, and represented the USA at the Under-20 World Championships a few years ago. He's a low-risk draft pick with upside for the Kraken, and I think they'd be wise to choose him.
All expansion draft materials courtesy of CapFriendly.com!