While the trade would be a little more involved than a simple rental, since Stafford has 2 years left on his deal at $4M per season, it might make sense from a Senators standpoint. Stafford is a legitimate 20 goal man, and has a career high of 31 (in just 62 games) 2 years ago, and is not shy about shooting the puck.
I am a big believer in players having an off year that could be due more to the situation than the erosion of the skill of a relatively young player. Buffalo has become one of the more dysfunctional clubs in the east over the past couple of years. Stafford’s role changed when the Sabres went and spent gobs of money on Ville Leino, and Stafford still put up 20 goals and 50 points last season. He is a right winger that would be the perfect foil for Spezza and Milan Michalek, and with his skating ability would open up more chances for all three. All three could get 30 goals as a line next season.
Stafford is having a nightmare season in Buffalo, with just 4 goals (2 in one game against the Senators last week), and will apparently be a healthy scratch when the Sabres meet the Habs today.
The only downside might be the cost. At 27, Stafford is probably entering his prime years, and while Buffalo might be disappointed with his season, they aren’t going to just give him away. Would the cost be worth the benefit of brining in a potential top 6 forward that they would have a 2 year commitment to?
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