PITTSBURGH – With the NHL trade deadline hitting at 3 p.m. Wednesday, here’s the Buffalo Sabres’ Eastern Conference standing and their activity since 2006:
2006, third place, 83 points
General manager Darcy Regier made no additions, only trading No. 3 goalie Mika Noronen to Vancouver for a second-round pick (current backup goalie Jhonas Enroth). Some argued the inactivity bit the surprising Sabres, who lost four defensemen to injury during their run to the Eastern Conference final. They lost Game 7 with just two regular defenders, Brian Campbell and Toni Lydman.
2007, first place, 87 points
The slick Sabres, who finished first overall, stocked up for a Stanley Cup run, sending a first-round choice and Jiri Novotny to Washington for rental forward Dainius Zubrus and depth defenseman Timo Helbling. They also traded goalie Martin Biron to Philadelphia for a second-round pick (defenseman T.J. Brennan) and got a new backup, Ty Conklin, from Columbus.
In addition, Regier acquired Mikko Lehtonen from Nashville, another AHL defender with NHL experience.
Zubrus, while he only had four goals and 16 points in 34 total games, performed well and then left as a free agent. Conklin played sparingly. The Sabres didn’t re-sign him, and he became a top No. 2 in Pittsburgh. Neither defenseman played for the Sabres.
2008, ninth place, 69 points
The transitioning Sabres, despite having as many points as the two clubs ahead of them, traded Campbell, a two-time all-star, and a seventh-round pick to San Jose for a first-round choice (center Tyler Ennis) and winger Steve Bernier.
After losing co-captains Daniel Briere and Chris Drury in free agency, the Sabres couldn’t let Campbell, an upcoming free agent, walk for nothing.
They missed the playoffs.
Ennis scored 20 goals as a rookie last season and could be a future star. The Sabres traded Bernier, who’s been bouncing around the league, to Vancouver that summer.
2009, 10th place, 69 points
The Sabres, three points out of the last playoff spot, dished a second-round pick to Toronto for Dominic Moore, one of the best rental players available. Regier got a second-rounder back by trading winger Ales Kotalik to Edmonton. With Ryan Miller hurt, he also grabbed goalie Mikael Tellqvist from Phoenix for a fourth-rounder.
The Sabres missed the postseason again.
Moore, in the midst of a career season, was a colossal disappointment, compiling one goal and four points in 18 games. He battled a fractured wrist, however. He’s played for four teams since the Sabres.
Tellqvist made three starts, winning two. He signed with a KHL club in Russia that summer.
2010, fifth place, 75 points
The Sabres traded another second-round pick for a rental, this time Columbus winger Raffi Torres, who arrived as the team’s leading goal scorer with 19.
Somehow, Torres became a bigger bust than Moore.
Torres never scored a goal in 18 games. His conditioning was so bad he immediately lost his spot on a top line. He was a healthy scratch by the postseason.
They also traded winger Clarke MacArthur to Atlanta for third- and fourth-round selections. MacArthur had 21 goals and 62 points with Toronto in 2010-11.
2011, ninth place, 65 points
New owner Terry Pegula made his first acquisition a significant one, trading a second-rounder for $4 million forward Brad Boyes, a former 43-goal scorer.
He had an immediate impact, tallying five goals in his first 10 games. The Sabres climbed into the seventh playoff spot, finishing with 96 points.
Boyes suffered a stunning decline after a fast start, scoring only four goals in the ensuing 65 games.
Former coach Lindy Ruff said the Sabres would’ve missed the playoffs in 2010-11 if Boyes didn’t switch from wing to center late.
2012, 12th place, 62 points
With the Sabres six points out of eighth place, they sent Paul Gaustad and a fourth-round pick to Nashville for the Predators’ first-round selection, a huge get for a checking forward. The Sabres dished that pick to Calgary in June to move up and select forward Zemgus Girgensons 14th overall.
The Sabres then pulled the day’s biggest blockbuster, trading winger Zack Kassian to Vancouver for center Cody Hodgson in an exchange of former first-round picks.
Buffalo also dealt Marc-Andre Gragnani to the Canucks for Alexander Sulzer, a swap of extra defensemen.
Hodgson was the Sabres’ No. 1 center most of this season until interim coach Ron Rolston demoted him to the fourth line Sunday, the same day, ironically, the Canucks sent Kassian to the AHL.
Sulzer became one of the Sabres’ regular defensemen before tearing his ACL on Feb. 23.
The Sabres roared back and grabbed eighth place briefly before falling back down.