Sabres address needs and Adams sticks to his guns on deadline day
Buffalo made three deals on trade deadline day and held true to what they've preached all along.
For weeks leading up to the trade deadline, no matter who you spoke to from the Buffalo Sabres, the message was the same. Be it Kevyn Adams, Don Granato, Kyle Okposo, or any of the other players, they all wanted to be the ones to take on the challenge of getting the Sabres back to the playoffs.
As the games count down and the stakes ramp up and the calls from fans grew louder to do whatever it takes to get back to the postseason, Adams and his excited, yet steely cool demeanor held strong to the plan. He didn’t want to give up young players or prospects and trading away high draft picks didn’t feel right to do right now.
When I took a look back at Adams’ trade history a few weeks ago, what stood about was how he didn’t make a rash decision and if a player needed to be traded or it would do them a solid to go to another team, it would be done. In the three deals completed on Friday, it’s just how things played out.
If there were needs to address on the Sabres roster, one was finding players with physical presence. Adams accomplished that on the defensive end last week acquiring Riley Stillman from Vancouver. Although, it may be a little while before we see Stillman again after he took the worst of a fight against Tampa Bay’s Tanner Jeannot on Saturday afternoon and didn’t return to the game.
But it was up front they could’ve used more size and that’s where Jordan Greenway comes in.
A 6-foot-6, 230-pound winger, he fits the bill in a big way. The Sabres sent a pair of draft picks to the Minnesota Wild, a 2023 second-round pick from Vegas and a 2024 fifth, to bring on Greenway and if there’s a clear role for him on this team, it’s to be the bouncer, the bodyguard, a big brother-type of player.
“What I noticed wasn't that we were getting pushed around, but that teams were certainly trying to bully us,” Adams said. “I don't think there's any way around it when you watch our games, a number of the teams, especially going after our top players and just game after game targeting them. It was clear.
Stillman and Greenway each have years on their contracts, so they’re not hired guns, something Adams said he wanted to avoid. Stillman is signed through 2024 with a $1.35 million cap hit and Greenway is locked in through 2025 at $3 million a year. The Sabres wanted players that can grow with them and create better camaraderie in the room. It’s a smart idea for a team this young.
Having a revolving door of players coming through with a team that’s as tight together as this group introduces a difficult element for younger players to deal with and a throwback to ones the veteran players grew tired of. Continuity from within is seen as a necessary thing to keep the growth going.
There is reason to be skeptical of Greenway’s addition, however.
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