There are reports that there are several teams (Florida and Colorado among them) that are looking to spend big to get to the salary cap floor. So, the question people are asking is, how will this impact Free Agency? Does it drive up prices?
I have two thoughts that probably more directly impact the Sabres below
1. Do middle of the road prices get driven up? I expect teams like Colorado and Florida to lock up many of their own players and to drive up prices for the average guys. Most superstars can still get big money from contending teams, so won't choose Florida or Colorado. These middle of the pack sort of guys will impact the salaries eventually earned by guys like Gerbe, Ennis, etc.
2. Is there a trade market that's opened up for guys on the Sabres who are good players, but paid above their production. Would a team like Colorado or Florida be willing to trade for the Pominvilles, Hechts, Gaustads, or Boyes of the world. Solid players whose contracts the Sabres might be willing to get out from under to free up more cap room (for the record, if Hecht is moving back to wing I would not trade he or Gaustad unless its a great deal...plus doesn't Hecht come off the books after this season anyway). I'm not suggesting tha Pominville is bad or awful or unuseful. I'm saying that for his production, the team should take any opportunity to see if they can move that salary. I also am OK with Boyes still being on the team, but think its a good idea for the team to see if they can move any of their glut of wingers to allow more flexibility in the trade and free agent market.
3. I'm really starting to warm-up to the idea of a cheap Chris Drury resigning as a third line center. Would he sign for 1.5 or so? Maybe not, but at that price, I think the Sabres should make that move and resign either Grier or Nieds and try to have a shut down defensive line to match up with the best lines of the other team. The Sabres need a line like that in the playoffs. And yes, I realize point three had nothing to do with the premise of this post, but what are you going to do.