Maxim Afinogenov has one goal and nine assists in 29 games for the Buffalo Sabres, putting him on pace for ... well, put it this way: Andrew Peters is only one goal behind him on the season, with eight games in hand.
He's also a former 73-point player in the last year of his contract, who seems dedicated to decreasing his value as an offensive solution for another team. Let's Go Sabres explains the reality of Max's surroundings:
Getting only eight minutes of playing time a night isn't a good sign for Afinogenov. It also isn't a good sign that Nathan Gerbe and Patrick Kaleta both have shown that they can play in the NHL. That does not bode well for Afinogenov, who could find himself out of town in a hurry. I'm sure he likes it here, but he isn't helping this team. We need someone in the lineup who can contribute. Right now, Afinogenov isn't that guy.
Thing is, Afinogenov knows this; and he also seems to understand that the clock is ticking on his tenure with Buffalo, his franchise for nearly the last decade. Max recently spoke with Gennadi Boguslavski, Sovietsky Sport's writer from Montreal, about his future with the Sabres. Puck Daddy's official Russian comrade Dmitry Chesnokov provides the English translation from this SovSport article:
On Friday you once again were scratched. When will this suffering end for you?
"Rumors about a trade involving me did not arise yesterday. These talks are logical. My contract is going to expire at the end of this season. Usually all commotion starts around this time, and I am no different. If Buffalo does not want to lose me for free, because I will become a free agent in the summer, a trade has to be made."
Is there at least a minimal chance that you will sign a new contract with the Sabres?
"It is difficult for me to answer this question. Our relationship with the club is not really working. Maybe something will change towards the end of the season."
But probably not. Can Afinogenov fetch anything more than a third-round-or-lower draft pick at this point? But, at the same time, is he a player who just needs a change of scenery to find his game again?