What you need to know about the 2017 NHL trade deadline.
By Brian MacNamaraPublished March 12, 2018 10:45:50In a trade that sent both Jonathan Drouin and Jussi Jokinen to the Chicago Blackhawks, the Buffalo Sabres acquired defenseman Nikita Kucherov and a 2018 second-round pick from the Winnipeg Jets.
The deal, the latest in a flurry of moves, came after the Sabres, led by head coach Ted Nolan, had lost six straight games to start the season.
The move was made with the understanding that the NHL team’s roster would not be finalized until March 15, but the timing could not have been worse for the Sabres.
They were eliminated from playoff contention on Saturday with a 3-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens in the opening round of the playoffs.
The Sabres (29-19-9, 72 points) had to fight hard to win the first game of a back-to-back, losing in overtime to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday before beating the Buffalo Rangers in overtime in Game 2.
Kucheroev, a 24-year-old rookie who has scored 16 goals and 36 points in 24 games, is expected to make the roster after he’s cleared waivers.
Kauffman is expected back on the Sabres’ top line with Evander Kane and Jake McCabe.
The Sabres’ playoff odds, as of Sunday morning, were 4-1 to win their first Stanley Cup since 2002.
A lot has changed in just six months.
But there’s one constant, according to Sabres head coach and general manager Tim Murray: The Sabres are ready to fight.
The Buffalo Sabres have won 10 straight games in which they’ve posted a losing record, which is tied for the longest such streak in the NHL.
That includes a 10-game win streak during which the Sabres have gone 9-0-0.
Last season, the Sabres were 13-9-1 in games they won.
They have been a minus-7 during that stretch, a number that has increased from a minus of plus-13 in the regular season.
That stretch has coincided with the team’s acquisition of Kucro.
The 29-year old Czech defenseman, acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets in a blockbuster trade that brought forward Patrik Laine to Buffalo, is coming off a career-high 28 goals and 71 points in 59 games.
The 22-year veteran had 13 goals and 20 points in 72 games with the Blues last season.
Kane and McCabe, who were also acquired in the deal, are expected to start next season on the Buffalo roster.
The new Sabres are hoping to be a factor in the Eastern Conference playoffs, where they will face the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round.
Buffalo has three points in six games against the Leafs this season.