We all know at some point Buffalo Sabres GM Jason Botterill is going to continue with the unloading process he began when Matt Moulson was waived in early December. And when he does, the first guy to get the proverbial boot needs to be Zach Bogosian.
Bogosian’s recent hip injury was revealed to be season-ending on Friday. This guy is officially more trouble than he’s worth, and it’s time for the Sabres to cut their losses.
To say that Bogosian hasn’t worked out in Buffalo would be an immense understatement. He’s been injury prone since he was drafted and has never played a full season in his NHL career (he did play 81 games in 2009-10, albeit, but it still doesn’t count). The fact that D-men that have become NHL stalwarts like John Carlson, Erik Karlsson, Alex Pietrangelo and Tyler Myers, his counterpart in the incredibly lopsided 2015 blockbuster that sent him to Buffalo, were somehow taken after him in the 2008 Draft blows my mind, but that’s a whole different conversation. Since he’s been with the Sabres Bogosian has been injured constantly, and when’s he’s actually been healthy, he’s been a complete non-factor both offensively and defensively.
Here’s the proof: in his two full seasons with Buffalo, the defenseman has played in 120 of a possible 164 contests and has registered only 35 points. He played in 18 games this season, posting one point and a -9 rating. His injury proneness and defensive shoddiness would be tolerable if he at least scored when healthy, but that is nowhere near the amount of production a team should get from a player that puts more than $5 million a year on its payroll. Though his defensive game has improved slightly this season, it is still not enough to make up for it.
Bogosian is currently on the fifth year of a seven-year deal he signed with Winnipeg in the summer of 2013. His current salary per year makes him Buffalo’s sixth-highest paid player, and the team would open up a plethora of cap space by ridding themselves of his contract.
Don’t get me wrong, I like Bogosian as a person and the benevolent presence that he is in the Sabres’ locker room is evident even to casual fans. The problem is simply that a team trying to pull itself from the sewer can’t afford to be giving so much to a guy who contributes nothing. Don’t get me wrong, the same can be said for numerous others on the Sabres, but Bogosian is the most flagrant example right now.
The Sabres would have a hard time trading the 2008 third overall pick even if he was healthy. The odds of him finding suitor are slim to none at this point, meaning the team will probably have to go the buyout route. Buffalo hasn’t bought out a player’s contract since Ville Leino in 2014, but doing so for Bogosian would not just free cap space, it could also possibly open a door for Brendan Guhle. The youngster has proven in Rochester that he’s ready for the next level. Not full-time just yet, perhaps, but at worst the team could simply bring him up for an extended trial and send him back if needed.
At 27, Bogosian’s career is nowhere near over and a better team than the Sabres still may be able to salvage something. His ceiling is very high but the pile of injuries on his resume have prevented him from ever breaking it. All he his is to the Sabres right now is dead weight, and the team needs to rid itself of it.