Currently sitting ninth in the Eastern Conference with 69 points in 63 games, the Buffalo Sabres are in the thick of the playoffs race with the trade deadline looming.
The Sabres have lost their past three games, scoring only three goals during that span and during Ryan Miller's absence. Patrick Lalime has been doing very well in goal for Buffalo, but an evident lack of offensive support and led to poor results, especially against the Islanders on Saturday where they lost 2-0.
Injuries to key players such as Thomas Vanek, Tim Connolly, Paul Gaustad and Ryan Miller have affected the team's chemistry along the way. Jason Pominville and Jochen Hecht's subpar seasons haven't help either.
With Thomas Vanek likely back Wednesday against the Canadiens, the Sabres will likely get the boost they need to start scoring goals again.
The real question now is should the Sabres be sellers or buyers before tomorrow's trade deadline?
The fans are desperate for a playoffs appearance and I'm sure Lindy Ruff would welcome any help he can get; however, GM Darcy Regier will have to be very creative to bolster his lineup for a playoffs run.
With Miller's long term injury, the Sabres desperately need to acquire another veteran goalie if they hope to make it to the postseason. The Sabres also need help on their backend and their defensive has been very inconsistent throughout the year.
Regier will likely try to trade underachieving forward Maxim Afinogenov - if he can find a taker. Other players such as Tim Connolly and Henrik Tallinder are likely dangled by Regier in order the get free up some salary and get help.
Some defensemen the Sabres should try to acquire are Phoenix's Derek Morris, Columbus' Rotislav Klesla, Nashville's Dan Hamhuis, ans Colorado's Jordan Leopold.
New Jersey's Scott Clemmensen and St. Louis' Manny Legace would complement Patrick Lalime's work nicely and should not be expensive