The job of being a General Manager in the NHL is not an easy one despite how easy way make it look when he say "sign this guy" or "trade that guy". When trying to build a team a GM has to look at the big picture and not just this season. There is no doubt that Darcy Regier is looking at next season when he is negotiating with Drew Stafford and Mark Mancari. I'm sure he is looking beyond this season when he is dealing with the trade market as well.
This has been a relatively quiet off-season for the Sabres but next season may not be as quiet. The Sabres currently have six forwards, four defensemen and one goalie signed for the 2010-2011 season. That is a total of 11 players that are set to make aroun $39.5 million in 2010-2011.
Based on natural progression and the need to add some cheap players into the lineup, we can assume that Tyler Myers, Nathan Gerbe and possibly Jhonas Enroth will be regulars in the Sabres lineup by 2010. When adding those three players to the roster the Sabres would have 14 players signed for around $42 million. We could also be adding Drew Stafford and Mark Mancari to the list above depending if they sign and for how many years.
We have plenty of time to speculate on who will or won't be here next season but for arguments sake we'll just show you who will looking for a new contract next off-season. Follow the jump to see the list of players.
Unrestricted Free Agents
Adam Mair - 2009 Salary: $775,000
Mair is gritty player that has become a fan favorite because of his style of play. Before signing is last contract he professed his love for Buffalo and said "he wouldn't play anywhere else". His feelings may have changed because the team has not enjoyed the same success that they had before he signed his last contract. His role is that of a fourth liner and can probably be signed for a relatively cheap price.
Matt Ellis - 2009 salary: $500,000
Ellis is another gritty player that gives 100% on every shift. He is another role player that can be replaced easily by someone else but will likely be a candidate to be re-signed by the Sabres once again. The luxury of him signing a one year contract is that the Sabres have options with him.
Toni Lydman - 2009 Salary: $3,150,000
Lydman is a solid defensemen that is the but of criticism from many Sabres fans. Some of the criticism is warranted but he is possibly the Sabres best defenseman in his own zone. There is a possibility that the Sabres would try to bring him back next season but he would have to take a hefty pay cut from his current salary.
Henrik Tallinder - 2009 Salary: $3,250,000
I really don't need to say much about Hank. He is nowhere near the player that he was a couple of seasons ago and he is likely to leave the team unceremoniously, much like Dmitri Kalinin did.
Nathan Paetsch - 2009 salary: $1,050,000
Paetsch is a versatile player that has played both defense and forward for the Sabres. Every team loves to have a player that is as versatile as Paetsch but he will likely leave the team for an opportunity to play everyday with another team.
Joe Dipenta - 2009 Salary: $550,000
Dipenta was signed to add a veteran presence in Portland for this season. Nobody knows what the future will hold for Dipenta and would be unfair to speculate before he plays this season.
Patrick Lalime - 2009 Salary: $1,000,000
He makes too much money for a marginal backup goalie. He wasn't as good as needed to be when the Sabres needed him the most but his hip injury could have played a role in his play last season. With Jhonas Enroth pushing for a roster spot he will likely not be a member of this team beyond next season.
Restricted Free Agents
Clarke MacArthur - 2009 Salary: $1,400,000
MacArthur signed a one-year contract last week just one season after netting 17 goals last season. This will be a big season for MacArthur and will probably determine how hard the Sabres will try to re-sign him next year. There has been plenty of debate on this site about just how good C-Mac is and whether he was worth the money he signed for this season.
Daniel Paille - 2009 Salary: $1,350,000
Paille had a career high 19 goals two seasons ago but scored only 12 last season. He has been criticized for his lack of consistency but will be playing for a contract this season. He has shown at times that he can be a dominate player and a true power forward despite his size.
Patrick Kaleta - 2009 Salary: $522,500
Kaleta plays every shift like he is a bull in a china shop. He will be back after last season and will still come at a cheap price tag for the Sabres. He is possibly the most fearless player I have ever seen but he has suffered some head injuries that make him a concern for the team to sign.
Tim Kennedy - 2009 Salary: $635,000
Kennedy has some potential but has played in only one NHL game. He is likely to get an opportunity to prove what he can do at the NHL level this season. The Sabres like to keep the players they have developed and they will try to re-sign him after next season.
Other RFA's Next Season
In addition to the players listed above the Sabres have other minor league players that will be restricted free agents next season. The list includes Phillip Gogulla, Marc-Andre Gragnani, Mike Weber, Matt Generous, Derek Whitmore and Mike Kostka.