24 hours after looking like buyers at the trade deadline, the Sabres — like much of the rest of the league on Monday — kept their roster mostly intact as the 3 p.m.deadline passed.
The lone move the Blue & Gold made on Monday was shipping Nathan Beaulieu to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a sixth round pick in this year’s NHL draft.
General manager Jason Botterill’s big deal took place Sunday night.
He sent a first round pick and defenseman Brendan Guhle to Anaheim in exchange for defenseman Brandon Montour.
The 24-year-old right shot D-man did not play Monday night in Toronto.
The Sabres, who are six points back of the final wild card spot, are still in search of secondary scoring as their playoff push continues.
“It’s a balance we’re always trying to find here. We understand the long-term success of our organization. We have to develop young players within our organization and develop depth. It’s also where we have young players in the NHL right now and we want to support them as much as possible,” said Botterill, who also mentioned the growth of players like Rasmus Dahlin, Casey Mittelstadt and Sam Reinhart.
“We felt like this was move that helped our group right now, but is someone who can grow and someone who can develop into a better NHL player. We see the same thing with Brandon Montour. We see a young player who has established himself in the National Hockey League but there’s more of a ceiling there, too.”
Buffalo hasn’t won back-to-back games since mid-Decemeber or won back-to-back regulation wins since the opening month of the season.
Since their 10-game winning streak ended in late November, Phil Housley’s skaters have managed just 12 wins and a 12-18-6 overall record. They did register a point against the Lightning and beat the defending Stanley Cup champions from Washington 5-2 to earn three out of a possible four points over the the weekend.
“We understand the importance of getting to the playoffs and this is a great step right now where we’re at. Nobody is sitting in here saying, ‘Wow, this is great. We’re in some games’. Guys are hungry. And I think you’ve seen it after the games,” Botterill said. “After the losses, people are certainly disappointed. We’ve tried to stay more even keeled, but with a young group, there are certainly some highs and lows.
“I’ve been really impressed with how we’ve handled adversity and the response the last couple of games. Now, it’s important we put that together. It’s evident we haven’t won back-to-back games in a long time. We have to understand there are going to be highs and lows throughout this entire month. The more we can stay even keeled and have a consistent effort will eventually, hopefully, get us into the playoffs.”