It is officially day two of the NHL free agency period and the Sabres went out of day one with a wimper. They did fill a huge need with the signing of Patrick Lalime (a guy who should be capable of backing up Miller), but they did nothing else. It's seems clear that they were involved in some discussions but they had to back off when the price tag went up. They appear to be content with what they have and will try to make a minor deal, or strike a trade.
The Sabres are not in a position to be paying outrageous salaries to players that will probably never live up to their contract. They have a self-imposed budget of $50 million and they currently are at $46.7 million without signing restricted free agents Steve Bernier and Daniel Paille. There has been some talk that both players may earn in the range of $2 million per season. You also have to keep in mind that Ryan Miller, Jason Pominville, Drew Stafford and Andrej Sekera are due new contracts next year.
I too would have loved to see the Sabres make a splash yesterday but in hindsight it was for selfish reasons, more traffic, something to talk about and some false excitement. How much better is the team if they sign Brooks Orpik for probably $5 million and Mike Commodore for $3.75 million? They are probably better this year but how does that effect Miller and Pominville? I think we are in good hands Sabres fans, let's watch the whole thing play out and see where we go.
There has been plenty of reaction on the other blogs so let's take a look at what everyone is talking about...
Kevin at BfloBlog isn't real happy with the lack of signings...
There are reasonable contracts being handed out right now, as witnessed by the deal the Blue Jackets gave to Mike Commodore and the one Mark Streit got from the Isles. Signing a guy like Commodore for $3.75 million a year is not out of line with the Sabres salary structure, and strikes me as kind of a bargain come 2011.
We all know that Kevin has the best Buffalo Sports blog out there, except maybe this one and this one, but I have to disagree this time. I don't find either contract to be reasonable. Commodore had one good season with Carolina (and they won a Stanley Cup) and he turned that into $3.75 million. He is making at least $2 million too much with Columbus.
Streit is a guy that will bring a lot to the power play but he is a defensive liability. He is 30 years-old and he only has three years of NHL experience. In his three seasons he has put up plenty of points but has been a minus player. Last year he scored 13 goals and 49 assists but he was a minus six on the season.
Anne at SabreTooth's House is waiting for some defensive help...
COME ON! We've seen that we don't have the defensemen in the minors to fill in the (at least) 1 or 2 spots we have vacant. We've definitely got Toni, Hank the Tank, Sissy and Patches. We might still have Teppo and Pratters. Sekera will most likely be making the leap. Ok. That would give us more than enough bodies to throw on the ice. HOWEVER! We need at least 1 more strong veteran that will be around for a few years to (probably) partner with Sissy.
She also talks about Ron Hainsey, who the Sabres are apparently not interested in.
Apparently Heather and I are in agreement on Darcy and free agency...
For all the crap, Darcy Regier takes from Buffalo, I like him and would take him over most of the yahoo GMs out there.
I like that he's too smart to get into bidding wars with other GMs or smart enough to bow out of them at the right time.
I like that he's put some thought into what he wants to spend where and then sticks to it.
I think that just about sums up my feelings on what the Sabres did (didn't do) yesterday.
And finally check out this post at Goose's Roost