Dreger: Alex Nylander 'could be on the move'

TSN hockey insider Darren Dreger says the Sabres remain in the mix for Jimmy Vesey

Brayton Wilson
June 21, 2019 - 1:15 pm

Photo: Kevin Hoffman - USA TODAY Sports

The NHL Draft is a time of the year where teams around the league get together and have the chance to start re-tooling their rosters in preparation for the upcoming season.

This year's draft is set to take place in Vancouver this weekend, and already leading up to the draft there has been plenty of movement and chatter.

The Buffalo Sabres are looking to be an aggressive team in the trade market this offseason as general manager Jason Botterill looks to improve from a disappointing end to the 2018-19 season. Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported last Saturday that the Sabres were one of the more active teams with making calls and talking with other teams.

Friedman also mentioned last week that the Sabres had talked to the New York Rangers about forward Jimmy Vesey in a possible move, and Pierre LeBrun from The Athletic reported on Thursday that talks between the Sabres and the Rangers continue on Vesey.

TSN's Darren Dreger joined Andrew Peters, Craig Rivet and Martin Biron on The Instigators ahead of Friday's first round of the draft, and he also believes that the two sides continue to talk on a possible deal.

"I would connect Buffalo to the New York Rangers still on Jimmy Vesey. They're one of four or five teams that I'm told that remain fairly interested."

However, Dreger added an interesting tidbit to the trade discussion as he says that possibly Sabres prospect Alex Nylander is available for trade.

"Whether or not he'd be included in the Vesey deal, the sense I got from my Rangers sources last night was that, I don't want to oversell Buffalo's involvement in a trade negotiation with the New York Rangers, Buffalo is one of the teams that is interested in Jimmy Vesey. I didn't get the sense that Nylander had to be involved in that trade, but when I asked about him, I was told that he could be on the move."

The former first round pick of the Sabres has not had a good start to his professional career in Buffalo. The 21-year-old has spent a majority of his time in the organization with the Rochester Americans, playing in 165 games in the American Hockey League while scoring 30 goals and 86 points. With the Sabres, Nylander has seen limited action in three seasons, appearing in 19 games with three goals and three assists.

After being taken with the eighth overall pick by general manager Tim Murray in the 2016 NHL Draft, Nylander was assigned to the Amerks as a young 18-year-old prospect. While in Rochester, Nylander's first season never really progressed anywhere as he was playing on a team that ended the season with a 32-41-0-3 record. The next year, Nylander suffered a lower-body injury during the Prospects Challenge at Harborcenter, and ended up being out of action until November. Upon his return, Nylander never really re-gained his game and ended the season with eight goals and 27 points in 51 games.

This past season was a bit of a turnaround year for Nylander as he scored 12 goals and registered 31 points in 49 games with the Amerks. He ended up getting a call up from the Sabres, where he appeared in 12 games while scoring two goals and adding two assists. However, his season was cut short due to a leg injury where he was sliced by a skate and needed stitches.

Even though Nylander is still young at the age of 21, his development has not exactly gone to plan. He has the skillset to be a very good playmaker in the NHL, but there have been questions about his work ethic and his ability to stay healthy at the professional level.

Nylander still has two years left on his entry-level contract before he is set to become a restricted free agent.

In addition to the speculation surround the Sabres with Vesey and Nylander, Dreger said that he has not heard much on any speculation of a trade involving defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen. However, he did also say that the Sabres' 31st overall pick, the last pick of the first round, could be in play for a trade.

You can listen to the entire interview below:

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