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Free Agent Goalies

The Sabres have only one goalie with any NHL experience under contract and that is starting goalie Ryan Miller.  Miller will become a free agent next season and so far there has been no indication from Miller that he wants to remain a Buffalo Sabre.  Larry Quinn has publicly stated that the team would make a strong push to get Miller re-signed prior to the season but we have not heard publicly from Miller.  Does Miller follow in the footsteps of Mike Grier, Jay McKee, Daniel Briere, Chris Drury and Brian Campbell?  The intentions of Miller are key because that should determine whether or not the Sabres go after a guy who could be a starting goalie like Jose Theodore or Cristobal Huet.  There are some goalies available this summer but overall I would say that it is a weak crop of free agents and it became weaker with reports that Wade Dubliewicz signed in Russia.

Free Agent Goalies

Alex Auld- Boston Bruins (27 years old)

He had by far his best season as a NHL goalie this year with the Boston Bruins.  There are many people that feel that he over-achieved this season and many say that he finally played to his capabilities but either way he would be a good fit with the Sabres as a backup to Ryan Miller.  Auld is still young enough that he could mature into a good goalie and he would be a more than capable backup.  Sabres fans remember Auld for three impressive performances against the Sabres this year including a 44 save performance on December 10 in a 4-1 Boston victory.

John Grahame- Carolina Hurricanes (32 years old)

Grahame would be a veteran presence in the locker room as well as on the ice.  Grahame has under-achieved his entire career but he could probably be effective in a role of playing 15-20 games.  He struggled last season with the Hurricanes but he was effective in 28 appearances in 2006-2007.  Grahame was solid as a backup when he played in Tampa Bay but after one year as their starter he was allowed to leave because of ineffective play and he signed in Carolina.

Stephen Valiquette- New York Rangers (30 years old)

Valiquette has never been more than a backup in the NHL and many consider him to be a solid AHL goalie.  He was very good as a backup to Henrik Lundqvist last season in New York.  He had never played more than six games in a season until playing 13 last year and sporting a 2.19 Goals Against Average and a .916 save percentage.

David Aebischer- Phoenix Coyotes (30 years old)

Aebischer has been a really good goalie in the NHL but regressed after being traded from Colorado to Montreal.  If he is able to regain the form he had while he played in Colorado he would be an excellent pickup for the Sabres.  It's unclear if he will play in the NHL or over in Europe and that will be a factor in any team signing him.  He can probably earn more money in Europe than he can as a backup goalie in the NHL which will probably keep him away from the NHL.

Cristobal Huet- Washington Capitals (32 years old)

He is the best of the free agent crop of goalies and it's expected that he will get good money to sign somewhere (probably Washington) as a starting goalie.  Huet was picked up at the trade deadline by Washington to help them make a run to the playoffs but you have to expect that they would like to keep him there longer than just last season, especially with the weak crop of free agent goalies.

Olaf Kolzig- Washington Capitals (38 years old)

It's a safe bet that because of his competitive mature, Kolzig wants to be a starting goalie but he may not have an opportunity to do it.  If that is the case he may go wherever someone wants him and Buffalo may be the only place for him.  he will probably cost more than the Sabres want to pay for a backup but he would definitely add some leadership to the team and give the Sabres a perfect fit for a backup to Miller.