Buffalo - February 12, 2015 - Tim Murray and the Buffalo Sabres had a pretty busy day yesterday.
By now, you might’ve heard of the fairly noteworthy trade centering around the departure of Tyler Myers and the arrival of Winnipeg outcast Evander Kane. A few pieces were involved and no one really paid it any mind.
What’s that? People had very visceral reactions to it? You don’t say. Some termed it “the worst trade in franchise history” which, c’mon. Some loved it, others are cautiously optimistic. Pick a reaction and it was readily available for consumption somewhere on the internet.
But before the dust could even begin to settle from that deal, Murray was at it again, sending starting goalie Jhonas Enroth to Dallas for backup Anders Lindback and a conditional third round pick in 2016 (the condition being that if Enroth wins four playoff games, it becomes a second round pick).
The plan seems quite evident for Murray right now with both moves. The idea is to make this team as bad as possible for the last two months to ensure they finish last and earn the right to select either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel come June. Getting rid of your best goaltender is a pretty good start and while Kane is the best player in the first deal, he’s unavailable for the remainder of the season due to injury. So ultimately, he’s making positive moves for the future of the franchise, but keeping his team in the hunt for the ultimate prize in the draft.
It also keeps an eye towards the future: landing Kane gives that top pick a top-flight winger to play with and moving Enroth opens up a spot in the near future for a goaltending prospect like Linus Ullmark or Andrey Makarov. Realistically, this team is two years away from being ready to contend for a playoff spot, so the team can afford to wait if neither of them is ready.
For Dallas, picking up Enroth made sense. Incumbent starter Kari Lehtonen has been bad this year: he’s 34th in the NHL with a .906 save percentage, well below his average percentage since coming to Dallas. Enroth gives them another option to go with as they try to fight their way into the playoffs.
Many will surely be unhappy with the Enroth move especially; it felt like a move that had no other reason for it other than to ensure the tank goes through. We’ll just have to wait and see if this all pans out for Murray and the Sabres.
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