With the Sabers still another year away from signing goaltender Eric Portillo, Lance Lisowski of the Buffalo News reports that there are internal and league-wide doubts about whether the netminder will sign with Buffalo. The 21-year-old was a third-round pick in 2019 (67th overall) and was impressive at Michigan last season, posting a 2.14 GAA with a .926 SV% in 42 games. Portillo will be eligible for free agency next August, four years after being drafted, with two years of college eligibility remaining. If Buffalo can’t sign him after the 2022-23 college season, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them try to trade his rights to a team willing to sign him.
Elsewhere in the Atlantic Ocean;
While the Red Wings had room to participate in the search for John Klingberg, Helen St. James of the Detroit Free Press outlines why they didn’t. Such a move would force them to trade Filip Hronek, and if the trade market is as weak as it is now, GM Steve Yzerman would be hard-pressed to get full value in return, even if Hronek is a good fit for the team. Agreement for two more years. They have more than $10MM in cap space, per CapFriendly, and once Phillip Zadina and Jake Wallman are re-signed, they’re in a good position financially to add someone as the playoffs progress. If the Bruins are forced to make a cap-draining trade to accompany the Pavel Threat deal and potential returns of UFAs Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, Kevin Paul DuPont of the Boston Globe suggests winger Craig Smith is a candidate to move. The 32-year-old has one year left on his contract after winning a $3.1m buyout. He has come off pretty good in recent years, posting at least 13 goals and 31 points in each of the past four seasons, and is coming off a 36-point campaign. Unlike teams trying to shed negative-value contracts, Smith isn’t in that category, but with so few teams looking to cash in, Boston would be hard-pressed to find a quality return for the Patriots if they had to go. That way.