Sabres will be sellers, but would welcome picks

This does not appear to be the Buffalo Sabres’ year. Their attitude heading toward Wednesday’s NHL trade deadline will reflect that.

“The things that we will look to add will focus on things beyond this year,” General Manager Darcy Regier said by phone Friday evening. “It may include this year, but the focus is going to be on next year and maybe even beyond that. So things that we do are going to be with that light in mind.”

It’s little surprise the Sabres will begin looking toward the future. They are in 12th place in the Eastern Conference heading into back-to-back home games, with visits by Washington tonight and Boston on Sunday. They are 4-4-4 in their last 12 games and 13-16-5 overall, meaning they don’t qualify as buyers.

Instead, Regier will focus on the buyers, but he figures draft picks might be tough to acquire.

“With the cap going down and the new contracts on the other side that have been signed, I think it’s added value to draft picks,” he said. “In some ways, it’s going to be harder to acquire draft picks for players in the event you’re trying to trade a player to get draft picks.”

This week, though, three significant trades made by Pittsburgh involved picks. The Penguins included a first-rounder in their deal with Calgary for Jarome Iginla; sent two second-round selections to San Jose for defenseman Douglas Murray; and received a third-round pick along with Brendan Morrow in a trade with Dallas.