Buffalo Sabres 2009-2010 Outlook

The NHL free agency period is almost two weeks old and it's easy for us fans to get caught up in who we the Sabres to sign or not sign.  It's also easy to sit back and criticize management for not making any big moves but they have to consider the future as well.  Sabres management has been much maligned in the media for allowing  players to leave and  reportedly not negotiating fairly but we are talking about a team that has almost $30 million tied up next season in only 11 players that have NHL experience.  Does that sound like a franchise that is not willing to pay it's players fairly?  They are also expected to try hard to re-sign both Jason Pominville and Ryan Miller this off-season before they officially become free agents.

The Sabres free agent list next season is extensive and could possibly allow the team some flexibility at the trade deadline.  Every team hopes that the team they put on the ice is a good one but this may be a good season for the team to be on the outside looking in.  It would be frustrating for Sabres fans to live through another sub-par season but if the team can trade away players at the trade deadline, they may be a better club in the future.

2009-2010 Free Agent List

Unrestricted Free Agents

F- Max Afinogenov

D- Jaro Spacek

F- Tim Connolly

F- Ales Kotalik

F- Andrew Peters

Restricted Free Agents

F- Jason Pominville

F- Drew Stafford

D- Andrej Sekera

F- Patrick Kaleta

 

I would expect that Max Afinogenov, Ales Kotalik, Jaro Spacek and if healthy Tim Connolly would be attractive to a team that is making a run for the Stanley Cup.  It would be nice for the Sabres to get something for these guys and strengthen the farm system.

Similar to this season, I don't expect the Sabres to put a big effort into signing their own UFA's (with the exception of Miller).  I expect they will definitely try to sign all the RFA's but they won't have a lot of money left to spend.  If they sign all the RFA's and Ryan Miller they will have eight forwards, six defensemen and two goalies.

2009-2010 Current Roster

Forwards

  1. Thomas Vanek- $6.4 million
  2. Derek Roy- $3.5 million
  3. Jochen Hecht- $3.8 million
  4. Paul Gaustad- $2.5 million
  5. Adam Mair- $775K

Defense

  1. Craig Rivet- $3.5 million
  2. Toni Lydman- $3.15 million
  3. Henrik Tallinder- $3.25 million
  4. Nathan Paetsch- $1.05 million
  5. Mike Weber- $638K

Goalies

  1. Patrick Lalime- $1 million

If the development of Nathan Gerbe and Tim Kennedy goes well than they may be able to help the Sabres in two years and will allow the team to be active in free agency but if they can't the Sabres will have a hard time filling their roster and staying under the teams self-imposed salary cap.  It should be an interesting couple of seasons for the Sabres both on and off the ice.

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