For years as Sabres fans we have gone into the offseason with the expectation that we weren't going to overpay ANY UFA, that we'd resign our RFAs, and that as the first week of July came to an end we'd snag a couple UFAs that were going below market average (think Montador, Morrison, Leopold, Niedermyer, Grier, ect.).
This offseason we experienced, for the first time, an owner committed to winning more than the bottom line. Which meant that he was willing to be a big player/spender on July 1st. So that being said. I will offer up my grade for the Sabres offseason.
- Bringing in Robin Regehr. He came at a reasonable price and contract length, and we acquired a second round pick in the process. He is an upgrade in terms of toughness, experience, and skill level from the departures of Butler and Rivet.
- Ville Leino is NOT worth the contract he was given. I'm sorry but for a guy who hasn't gotten to the 20 goal mark in his career; he should not be making 500,000 more than Derek Roy. In my opinion his signing was Pegula flexing his muscle, and not thinking in terms of future UFAs and our own RFAs.
The Wait and See:
- Christian Ehrhoff brings a lot of offensive upside to the table. Even before he went to Vancouver I liked him on San Jose. Whenever he was on the ice he seemed to be a force on the offensive side of the puck. In Vancouver he has been pegged as a product of a great goaltender, and playing with the Sedin twins. I don't think he has Vanek like expectations (that meaning that he has the forced media pressure of preforming up to the standards of the contract he just signed) but I also think that if our powerplay underperforms while he's quarterbacking it; it could be a disasterous signing for Buffalo.
- What we do with Kotalik? I have no idea why anyone would want to bring him back. He played on the fourth line his last time around, showed no heart unless he was on the powerplay, and has not stuck on an NHL team since he departed Buffalo. If we dump his salary to the AHL I will be most please. If he stays up....then...well....what the hell Lindy/Darcy
Overall Grade: B-
We'll have about 17 mil to sign Ennis and Myers next year to long term deals. Which is enough but will mean we won't be big players in UFA market next year. Leino's contract was too impulsive thus dropping us down to a 'B'. Not addressing the need for a 1st line center puts us at a B-. If we trade for a first line center in the upcoming weeks the grade will move to a A-.