Jan 18, 2024; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point (21) is congratulated by center Steven Stamkos (91), defenseman Darren Raddysh (43), right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) and defenseman Victor Hedman (77) after scoring against the Minnesota Wild during the first period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Sabres must sell at the trade deadline, but not for the reasons you may expect. Their 2023-24 season will continue until there is no mathematical way for them to finish among the top eight clubs in the Eastern Conference. However, the Sabres have been dealing with a slew of one-way contracts all year, which does not bode well for the organisation.

As a result, despite trade rumours, Casey Mittelstadt will not be among the players named below. However, the deadline offers them an incentive to relieve congestion by shifting players of lower value, and there are three they can trade for acceptable prices on March 8th, 2024.

Don’t expect them to move anyone they’ve signed to a long-term contract, or, in Mittelstadt’s case, anyone who deserves one, before the regular season begins in October 2024.

1) Erik Johnson, D

JJ Peterka has two goals as Buffalo Sabres rally for 5-3 victory over Los  Angeles Kings | WHAM

Erik Johnson was meant to stay for the year, but the iconic healthy scratches that the rising Ryan Johnson has received more than a few times this season, considering the number of veterans on the team, may necessitate a change of plans. Erik, like the other two players on this list, will not command a high price, but if a team is without a blueliner for a lengthy period of time due to injury, general manager Kevyn Adams will receive a call.

Despite Erik Johnson’s cheaper price tag, Adams may deal him for a mid-round pick. He traded Ilya Lyubushkin to the Anaheim Ducks in August for a fourth, so dealing Johnson to a contender in need of a third pairing player may overvalue him.

If Erik Johnson plays elsewhere, the Blue and Gold will be able to play Ryan Johnson without having to scratch him or any other blueliner who needs to play full time. Only Henri Jokiharju should be considered as a healthy scratch, but bringing Jacob Bryson, Kale Clague, or Riley Stillman to Buffalo full-time will compensate.

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