With NHL transaction freeze over, Kevyn Adams is free to make deals again

Buffalo is looking to trade Jack Eichel, Sam Reinhart and Rasmus Ristolainen
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Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) – The NHL transaction freeze was lifted at 1 p.m. ET on Thursday, allowing teams to be able to make trades and re-sign players once again.

Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams met with the media on Thursday and basically wanted to talk about this weekend’s NHL Draft. He didn’t want to take any questions on trades involving his team.

He did, however, talk about how things have been shaping up over the past few weeks.

“There has been a tremendous amount of conversations over the last couple of weeks," Adams said. "I think everybody submitted their expansion lists, caught their breath a little bit and now lots of conversations, lots of different scenarios. We’re willing to listen to every possible thing that’s going to get our franchise pointed in the right direction.”

As far as specific trades, Adams said the days of just taking what you can get are over.

“We’re not focused on that saying we have to do this, but if it’s the right deal that we think makes sense for us as we look to build around a young core of players, then we would do it. But it has to be the right thing for us," said the Buffalo general manager. "It’s not something where we’re just going to do it. We have to be able to look at each other in the eye and say this is the best thing for the Buffalo Sabres.”

Buffalo lost Will Borgen in the Expansion Draft to the Seattle Kraken on Wednesday. The Sabres weren’t willing to make a side deal with the Kraken to keep Borgen in the fold.

“I’m a big fan of Will as a person, as a player," Adams said of the young defenseman. "He has high character, and Seattle got a good one there. But the fact of the matter is that the rules put the expansion team in a pretty good position, so you understand what’s coming.

“You look at every possible scenario, but you have to be really careful in making an emotional decision and try to do something when maybe you’re giving up more assets just to save something.”

Jeff Skinner waived his no-movement clause for the Expansion Draft to allow Buffalo to protect an extra forward. Adams likes what that shows about the winger and his character.

“I think it says a lot about Jeff Skinner and what he believes in here moving forward," Adams said.

“He has a long-term contract and he wants this team to be in the best position to have success. By him being willing to step up and do that, it showed that not only does he care about the organization, but he gets it.”

Many feel Adams is trying to get trades done for Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart before Friday’s draft. The reason would be is you know exactly where the pick is that you’re getting in return.

“Those conversations have happened before, where I lean on [associate general manager Jason Karmanos] and [director of amateur scouting Jerry Forton] and the scouting staff to say, 'where are we if this pick became available in the first round? Where is our list where we see a falloff at a certain number, so it’s valuable information I’m needing [when considering a trade]?'"

The Sabres have the first overall pick for Friday’s virtual NHL Draft. We’ll have full coverage of the draft on WGR Sports Radio 550 starting at 7 p.m. ET with Joe DiBiase and Brayton Wilson.

***Photo: Micheline Michaelina (@MiMiV4682)

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