The Buffalo Sabres are reportedly trying to sign Cody Franson, while a case can be made for the Winnipeg Jets to trade Dustin Byfuglien.
Sabres attempting to sign Franson.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington reports two NHL sources claim the Buffalo Sabres are attempting to lure UFA defenseman Cody Franson by offering him a two-year contract. Franson’s been linked to the Boston Bruins, Columbus Blue Jackets and Pittsburgh Penguins in recent rumors. He’s believed seeking a multi-year deal. Franson completed a one-year deal last season worth $3.3 million. The Sabres are carrying around $12 million in salary cap space for the upcoming season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Considering the rebuilding Sabres’ blueline depth, they need all the help they can get for the upcoming season. No word as to how much the Sabres are offering per season. My guess is around $4 million annually. Franson could accept this offer, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he tries to use it as leverage in talks with other clubs interested in his services.
The case for trading Dustin Byfuglien.
WINNIPEG SUN: Ted Wyman recently suggested it makes sense for the Jets to draw upon their blueline depth as trade bait to bolster their forward lines. They head toward training camp carrying 11 defensemen with NHL experience, nine of them under one-way contracts. Wyman notes many observers were surprised the Jets didn’t shop defenseman Dustin Byfuglien this summer, noting the club had a better record last season when Byfuglien played at forward or was out of the lineup. He believes the Jets would be better off trading Byfuglien, especially if he can fetch a decent return, but points out the big blueliner’s age (30) and contract status (a UFA at season’s end) makes such a move easier said than done.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think this season is Byfuglien’s last with the Jets. However, I don’t see them trading him at the present time. I believe they’ll keep him for this season, even at the risk of losing him for nothing next summer to free agency, as he could help their chances of making a return trip to the playoffs. Still, he could be shopped at the trade deadline if the Jets face a dire need to bolster their forward lines for the playoffs, or if they’re out of postseason contention by that point.