The Buffalo Sabres made what could be the first of a number of moves on Saturday, trading veteran defenseman Jordan Leopold to the St. Louis Blues, with general manager Darcy Regier indicating a full rebuild could certainly be probable.
Regier spoke to the media in the middle of Saturday's 4-3 loss to the Washington Capitals, and stated that he's open to any possibility at the trade deadline.
"Where our hockey club is right now we have to be open to listening to just about anything and everything, and I am listening," said Regier. "We have to be open to everything, and I think the players recognize that as well.
"You're looking to get a group of top players that are going to play together, not on a one-year basis but going forward on a multiyear basis. That's our focus, and it could involve any players, and I think the players are aware of that."
The Sabres have now lost three straight games, falling to 13-16-6 on the season and continuing a freefall that comes less that two years after Regier aggressively attempted to create a winning team in one offseason. That freefall has led to speculation that Buffalo could trade any of the veteran core could be traded, including goaltender Ryan Miller, Jason Pominville and even Thomas Vanek.
Regier reiterated his stance that the team needs to build around a younger, less expensive core.
"I'll continue to try and figure out ways that we can be better, not just for the rest of this year but more importantly for the future," said Regier. "There's only so many of [veterans] you can have on your roster with the cap the way it is. You need top-quality young players to fill out because they're both good and they're inexpensive."
The Sabres sit just three points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, yet with just 13 games left in the season and considering the team's level of play for most of the season -- not many are expecting a wild comeback in the final month of the regular season.