Buffalo Sabres Free Agency Primer

DETROIT - APRIL 20: Matthew Lombardi would look great in a Sabres uniform next season.

The NHL Free Agency period begins tomorrow which means Christmas morning for most hockey fans. It usually means a boring day of watching the rest of the league spend money while the Sabres stay on the sidelines. Last season Sabres fans almost fell out of their seat when Darcy Regier announced the signing of Steve Montador on July 1. He wasn't the best player available but any signing is exciting for Sabres fans.

This free agency period is interesting because there seems to be a consensus that change is necessary but this is one of the weakest free agent classes in quite some time. There should be a couple of very good defensive players available and a couple of goalies available as well. The available forwards are not as attractive as the other positions.

The biggest excitement for Sabres fans might be watching what happens to their own free agents. The biggest names on the market for the Sabres are Henrik Tallinder and Toni Lydman.

Pending UFA's : Toni Lydman, Henrik Tallinder, Raffi Torres, Patrick Lalime, Adam Mair, Jeff Cowan, Cody McCormick, Joe Dipenta, Matt Ellis

Pending RFA's : Philip Gogulla, Tim Kennedy, Mike Weber, Marc-Andre Gragnani, Mark Mancari, Patrick Kaleta, J.P. Lamoureux, Derek Whitmore

Salary Cap Space : $13.8 million

Projected Budget : $55 million

Key Needs: Power Play Quarterback, Defensive depth (if Tallinder and Lydman are not re-signed), 3rd line center, Top 6 RW

Potential Targets : Pavel Kubina, Paul Martin, Joe Corvo, Zbynek Michalek, Matthew Lombardi, Ray Whitney, Matt Cullen, Eric Belanger, Brendan Morrison, Colby Armstrong, Lee Stempniak, Kurtis Foster, Glen Metropolit

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