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Sabres Free Agent Outlook

I took a look at some of the Sabres restricted free agents individually but I will complete a look at the in house free agents with a simple summary.  In all the Sabres have five restricted free agents and five unrestricted free agents to talk about and we took a look at four thus far.  If you are interested in going back and reading the previous posts click the links below...

  • Daniel Paille- post
  • Paul Gaustad-post
  • Clarke MacArthur-post
  • Steve Bernier- post

Mark Mancari (RFA)

This will be the fourth professional season for Mancari and so far he has not been able to crack the Sabres lineup.  Unless a miracle happens this won't be the season that happens with the Sabres depth at forward at the NHL level.  Mancari has showed a scoring touch in Rochester and he can also play defense in addition to playing right wing.  He has scored 20 goals in each of the last two seasons with Rochester despite the soap opera that occurred there last season.

verdict:  The Sabres have indicated that they plan on re-signing him to a new contract.  They have changed AHL affiliation and need as many AHL players as possible.  Mancari should fit in nicely with the Portland Pirates being one of the so called veteran leaders on a very young team.

Dmitri Kalinin (UFA)

Kalinin has frustrated Sabres fans, coaches and management for years.  He was the Sabres first round draft selection back in 1998 and at times he has lived up to that billing.  Unfortunately he has lacked consistency throughout his entire career and the entire Sabres organization has grown tired of his overall play.  It is very evident that Kalinin has also grown tired of the Sabres organization especially after getting blasted in practice by Lindy Ruff back in February.

verdict:  It is no secret that Dmitri Kalinin will not be offered a contract by the Buffalo Sabres.  Darcy Regier has publicly stated that Kalinin will not be returning to Buffalo next year and I'm sure Kalinin would like to move on as well.  If there is no offers here he may return to Russia and play in the new Russian Super League.

Teppo Numminen (UFA)

Numminen has brought a lot of good hockey and passion to Buffalo since signing as a free agent back in 2005.  After re-signing with a one-year contract last summer he failed his training camp physical due to a pre-existing heart condition.  The Sabres suspended Numminen without pay because of the failed physical and Teppo eventually filed a grievance with the players union.  The entire incident stirred a lot of debate amongst Sabres fans and hockey fans in general.  He played the Sabres final regular season game after recovering from heart surgery but the Sabres were already eliminated from playoff contention.

verdict: I don't anticipate that either party (the Sabres or Numminen) want to continue the relationship after what transpired last year but stranger things have happened.  Darcy Regier stated today on WGR 550 that he has had some conversations with Numminen's agent and he is open to him returning to the team.

Nolan Pratt (UFA)

Pratt was signed during last season as stop gap because of the Sabres injuries on defense.  There wasn't much expected from Pratt but overall his play was good enough to be a five or six defenseman for Buffalo.  Pratt was ready to sign with a team in the Russian Super League before Buffalo called and had him in for a workout.

verdict:  There really isn't much to say about Pratt...he will be re-signed if nothing else comes along but the Sabres are looking to upgrade the position and Pratt probably doesn't fit into those plans.

Mike Ryan (UFA)

Last year was the first time that Mike Ryan had an opportunity to become a regular contributor in the NHL.  The Sabres depth at the forward position combined with injury assured Ryan of having a disappointing season.  Ryan had a good season in Rochester in 2006-2007 and the Sabres had hoped that would translate into a good season in Buffalo but the trade for Bernier proved the Sabres were not enamored with Ryan who plays a similar style to Bernier.

verdict:  The Sabres could try to re-sign Ryan if the money is low enough for him.  The goal would be to try to sneak Ryan through waivers so he could help the Sabres new farm team in Portland.

Jocelyn Thibault (UFA)

Ryan Miller played in 76 games for the Sabres, the most of his career.  I mention that because it explains the season Thibault had.  he played an outstanding game in a win at Montreal early in the season but a couple of poor performances on a West Coast trip destroyed any confidence that Lindy Ruff may have had in him.

verdict: He's gone, need I say more?