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Sabres are spending money

The Buffalo Sabres roster has gone through a large overhaul and will look much different next season.  There are many reasons for the roster overhaul none of which is owner Tom Golisano's dedication and commitment to the team or the city.  It is not the management of Larry Quinn and Darcy Regier either.

There are people who will question the dedication of Tom Golisano because the Sabres will not spend to the cap but the criticism is unsubstantiated.  The Sabres current cap hit is just under $41 million which would imply they still have $9.5 million to spend but the reality is that the Sabres player payroll for the 2007-2008 season is currently at $44.5 million.  The current salary figures are prior to potential raises for restricted free agents Derek Roy, Dan Paille, Nathan Paetsch.  At best guess those three players will get in the area of $5-7 million combined and if those figures are correct the Sabres payroll will be at around $50 million for next season.

At best guess I think this is going to hinder the Buffalo Sabres pursuing any available free agents.  After Sheldon Souray signing with Edmonton there aren't any big name guys left but this is a good explanation as to why Buffalo was not active in the free agent market.  As I've stated in the past this is a good team with or without signing a free agent.  The Sabres would be better served to keep the team they have and possibly make some trades throughout the season.

The question is how long will the Sabres be able to compete if salaries continue to escalate.  They have admitted to earning a profit last season but for how long will it continue.  The team can't expect to be in the conference finals every season.  The growing trend is to front-load contracts as a way of saving money in future seasons, this will be the only thing that will help the Sabres to continue being a profitable franchise.  I would expect that in the very near future the Buffalo Sabres will have to cut some salary due to the economics of the game.