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  • Previewing the deadline in the Northeast Print
    Northeast
    Written by Heather Engel   
    Saturday, 18 February 2012 01:14

    The Bruins have reserved their spot on buyer's row, the Sabres have underwhelmed, the Canadiens are showing an intent to deal, the Senators will look to conservatively add and the Maple Leafs are a losing streak away from possibly becoming a seller. These are the things that the Northeast Division teams could do on Feb. 27.

    Heather Engel

    Boston Bruins

    Buyers or Sellers?

    The Bruins are in the buyer's line, their spot long-ago reserved. But, like last season, don't expect general manager Peter Chiarelli to make a deal just for the sake of dealing. He'll look to fill his needs with players who can fit into his room.

    Needs

    Boston will likely be shopping for scoring, having lost Nathan Horton and his 17 goals to a concussion back in late January and versatile forward Rich Peverley on Wednesday, gone for 4-6 weeks with a knee injury. Peverley was one of the Bruins' deadline acquisitions last year – along with Chris Kelly – and has proven to be a worthwhile addition. Last October, he signed a three-year extension with the Bruins.

    Surplus

    Defenseman Steven Kampfer suited up for just 10 games with the before he was assigned to AHL Providence last week. He picked up 10 points in eight NHL games last season and could be garnering some interest. With reports that the Bruins have offered new deals to Kelly and the team's fourth line, it seems unlikely Chiarelli will move anyone from his current roster – barring an offer he can't refuse.

    In the System

    Center Zach Hamill has had brief tastes of the NHL over the past three years. His longest stint came this season, dressing for 16 games in which he picked up two assists. Despite his 20-game NHL resume, the Bruins' first-round pick (eighth overall) in 2007 hasn't been able to stick long-term.

    Buffalo Sabres

    Buyers or Sellers?

    The Sabres were expected to be lining up with the buyers at this point of the season. Instead, an extremely underwhelming season has the club lounging among the sellers, or at the very least standing pat come deadline day.

    Needs

    Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek have been scoring. The rest? Not so much. Derek Roy – 11 goals and 29 points. Drew Stafford – nine goals and 27 points. Brad Boyes has just three goals and 13 points in 45 games. The Sabres need offense.

    Surplus

    Beyond the ongoing Ryan Miller chatter, it's been speculated that Derek Roy and/or Drew Stafford are available. Both still have term left on their current contracts – Roy with one more year after this at $4 million while Stafford has three more at the same money. Boyes could be more attractive with his deal expiring at the end of this year. Paul Gaustad's faceoff prowess and occasional offensive contribution might also see him change addresses. Defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani has struggled to stay in the Sabres lineup. The 24-year-old has played just once since Jan. 24 but owns a Sabres-best plus-10 differential – along with 11 points -– in 44 games this season.

    In the System

    The Sabres have some talent, notably on defense, in Rochester with 21-year-old Brayden McNabb and 22-year-old T.J. Brennan. Both have seen NHL action this season although McNabb earned the longer stint at 20 games to Brennan's eight. Right wing Corey Tropp earned some NHL experience with 13 games in a month's time from November to December.

    Montreal Canadiens

    Buyers or Sellers?

    While Canadiens players haven't given up hope on a playoff berth, management has made it pretty clear it intends to sell after dealing Hal Gill to the Nashville Predators. More bodies are expected to be cleared out by 3 p.m. ET on Feb. 27; a fire sale, however, is unlikely.

    Needs

    The Canadiens' AHL cupboard in Hamilton is pretty bare these days – both up front and on defense – with several players making the NHL jump over the last couple of years. Montreal could also use scoring at the big league level, their mid-ranking offense powered almost entirely by Max Pacioretty, Erik Cole and David Desharnais.

    Surplus

    Travis Moen's name has been tossed around as likely the next Hab to be on the move. Like Gill, the 29-year-old is a veteran brings leadership, a Stanley Cup and playoff experience to the table and will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. A team looking for defensive depth could come calling for Chris Campoli. Inconsistency and recent complaints about his ice time could also earn winger Andrei Kostitsyn a ticket out of town if general manager Pierre Gauthier can find a taker. While fans would ship both Scott Gomez and Tomas Kaberle off for a bag of pucks, Gauthier isn't likely to find a partner for either.

    In the System

    The Canadiens don't have much to offer from the Hamilton Bulldogs and given their current status, it would be surprising to see them send any of their top junior/college prospects anywhere. Pacioretty, Desharnais and defenseman P.K. Subban have all said so long to their AHL days and 2009 first-rounder Louis Leblanc hasn't looked out of place during his two call-ups thus far.

    Ottawa Senators

    Buyers or Sellers?

    General manager Bryan Murray has said he will look to improve his team but won't give away the farm to do so. The Senators are still in rebuild mode, despite their overachievements this season.

    Needs

    Murray would like to add scoring but it all comes down to the asking price.Bobby Butler

    Surplus

    Bobby Butler could be one to be dangled as part of an offer. It's been a rough year for the Senators sophomore – two goals in the first two months of the season, both in the same game – but he has picked up his play of late. As of Saturday, Feb. 18, Butler had six points in his last four games.

    In the System

    The Senators have been piling up prospects and according to ESPN, sellers have been asking for the promising ones. But for those hoping to pry away the likes of Jared Cowen, Mike Zibanejad and perhaps goaltender Robin Lehner are out of luck. "I'm not doing that, I can tell you that," Murray told ESPN.com. "I'm not looking for a short-term fix."

    Toronto Maple Leafs

    Buyers or Sellers?

    The Maple Leafs have been able to hang on to the eighth and final playoff berth by virtue of no one else seemingly wanting it. For now, they mingle with the buyers but a losing streak and a slip down the standings could change things before the deadline.

    Needs

    Someone who can stop the puck. The Maple Leafs are averaging nearly three goals against per game as goalies James Reimer and Jonas Gustavsson struggle with consistency. Toronto could also use some help on the penalty kill, where it ranks 29th in the NHL, besting only the Columbus Blue Jackets. General manager Brian Burke has said his desire is for a top-six forward but he won't be alone in that line.

    Surplus

    Burke's phone could be ringing with teams looking for NHL defensemen, or at least those with some big league experience. Mike Komisarek sat out six games as a healthy scratch before returning to the lineup on Feb. 14. The 30-year-old still has two more years at $4.5 million per season on his deal. A more affordable defensive option for teams could be Cody Franson – 24 and a restricted free agent at season's end - or possibly 6-foot-6 Keith Aulie, who has struggled in his second NHL season.

    In the System

    Nazem Kadri's name has come up often over the last couple of years and might continue to be with the Leafs being listed as a potential landing spot for Blue Jackets winger Rick Nash.

    NOTES

    Boston Bruins forward David Krejci has scored just once since Nathan Horton has been missing from the Bruins' line up with a concussion. During those ten games, Horton has a goal and an assist and a minus-eight rating. ... Bruins Center, Rich Peverley, is expected to miss four to six weeks with a third degree MCL sprain after a knee-to-knee hit with then Canadiens defenseman, Hal Gill, in the second period of Boston's 4-3 shootout win over the Habs. ... Lindy Ruff returned to the Buffalo Sabres' bench on Wednesday for the first time after having three ribs broken in practice on Feb. 6. ... In exchange for Hal Gill, one of the players that the Montreal Canadiens recieved was Blake Geoffrion, the grand son of former Montreal great Bernard "Boom Boom" Geoffrion. ... In 15 games since being traded to the Habs by the Calgary Flames, Rene Bourque has three goals and five points and is a minus-one. Mike Cammalleri, Bourque's counterpart in the trade, isn't faring much better, with five goals, seven points and a minus-four rating in 14 games with the Flames. ... Possibly the most surprising thing about Ottawa's stunning turn around this season is the fact that they are pretty awful at hitting the net. The Sens are third in the NHL in missed shots with 764. ... Toronto Archbishop, Thomas Collins, repped his Maple Leafs at the Vatican on Thursday. Collins was at the Vatican as one of 23 bishops prepping for elevation into the Catholic church's College of Cardinals. ... The Leafs' offense has been struggling lately, with 11 goals in their last six games. During that time, they've scored more than three goals only once.

    Photo by Getty Images

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    Last Updated on Sunday, 19 February 2012 02:10