The clock is ticking down and several teams across the National Hockey League are still looking to fill the void on their blue line, such as the Toronto Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins. While they may be taking a look at coveted defender Ryan McDonagh, who the New York Rangers have recently placed on the block, it is believed the asking price is quite steep and the Blue Shirts might wait for this summer's NHL Entry Draft to move him out.
Other options have been discussed, such as Detroit Red Wings rental Mike Green, Vancouver Canucks' Erik Gudbranson and Pittsburgh Penguins' Matt Hunwick who just took over for fellow blue liner Ian Cole on the Pens' block, but now the Buffalo Sabres are offering the services of another veteran defenseman.
According to TSN insider Darren Dreger, who reported the information on the air Buffalo's WGR 550 radio station, the Sabres could move Josh Gorges at the trade deadline. The 33-year-old defender is in the final season of his contract and the Sabres are even expected to be willing to absorb half of his $3.9-million cap hit.
"Final year of his contact, but the cap hit is a problem at $3.9 million. The Buffalo Sabres have let it be known they're willing to eat 50% of his cap hit," reported Dreger.
While the Maple Leafs, Bruins and Capitals are well known to be on the lookout to bolster their back end, Dreger speculates the St. Louis Blues could seek a depth defenseman and believes the Winnipeg Jets have inquired about him to land help on the blue line. Therefore, the Sabres could manage to move Gorges.
"I do believe he will be traded. I believe that Jason Botterill is going to do everything in the power of the Buffalo Sabres to give this guy a playoff opportunity. He's been a terrific pro, and an excellent leader within this organization. He deserves it," explained Dreger as transcribed on the WGR 550 website.
"I know there's been interest. Look at a team like St. Louis for example. They might be looking for a depth defenseman, someone that can give them honest minutes. St. Louis is a cap team, so maybe even half the cap hit is a problem, but maybe there's another piece that can be thrown in to soften it. Winnipeg is another team that's kicked tires, and there could be others."
Joshes, who has just amassed two assists in 25 games with Buffalo, has struggled in the past years, and has not been the player he once was for example with the Montreal Canadiens, before a trade sent him off to the Sabres.
However, Dreger believes the veteran defenseman deserves another chance and could help a contender down the line.
"Just based on his reputation and the will to compete, I think Josh Gorges will get traded."
Looking back on a past Sabres trade that sent Mike Weber to the Capitals before the 2016 deadline, Gorges could fetch a similar return. The Sabres received a third round pick for Weber, who was also a veteran depth defenseman like Gorges. The Sabres used that pick in this past draft on Finnish defenseman Oskari Laaksonen.