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An Early Look at 2009-2010 Roster

There are mixed reactions to what people would like to see the Sabres do in the off-season.  Some people would like to see the Sabres blow the whole thing up...start from scratch and try to build a Stanley Cup winner.  There are others that think a few things need to be done to improve the roster and still others think they should stay the course and let things happen.

Although we are pretty sure that some of the Sabres Unrestricted Free Agents (UFA's) will no longer be here next season.  It's way too early in the off-season to start speculating on rookies that may crack the lineup, free agents that may be signed or players that will be traded.

Unfortunately the Sabres have already used up a good portion of their salary cap next season.  That means that either there will be very few changes or we can expect to see a very different team.  Will anyone be upset if the team goes into full rebuilding mode and plays all their rookies?

Over the past couple of off-seasons the Sabres have made it abundantly clear that they have an internal salary cap and the NHL salary cap is basically irrelevant.  Last season the internal cap was a close as possible to $50 million and there is no indication that will change for next season.  

Because of the internal cap there is really no reason for me to list each players salary cap number because it is not as important as the actual 2009-2010 salary.


Signed 2009-2010 2009-2010 Salary RFA UFA
Thomas Vanek $6,400,000 Drew Stafford Maxim Afinogenov
Derek Roy $3,500,000 Clarke MacArthur Dominic Moore
Jochen Hecht $3,800,000 Patrick Kaleta Andrew Peters
Tim Connolly $4,500,000
Paul Gaustad $2,500,000
Jason Pominville $5,000,000
Adam Mair $775,000
Daniel Paille $1,350,000
Total Forward Salary $27,825,000


The Sabres have only eight forwards signed for the 2009-2010 season although players like Nathan Gerbe and Tim Kennedy are already signed to affordable contracts in Portland. 

They will need to add at least five more Forwards to the current roster and they have already used up almost 56% of their internal salary cap on eight players.

Signed 2009-2010 2009-2010 Salary RFA UFA
Craig Rivet $3,500,000 Andrej Sekera Jaro Spacek
Toni Lydman $3,150,000
Henrik Tallinder $3,250,000
Nathan Paetsch $1,050,000
Chris Butler $576,666
Total Defense Salary $11,526,666


The emergence of Chris Butler this season helps to keep the salary of the defensemen relatively affordable for the Sabres.  It still doesn't leave much room for outside hep but every little bit counts.

There are only five defenseman signed which means the Sabres will need to add one or two to the roster to make it complete. There are some options inside the organization although many people would like to see significant change to the defensive corps.

Signed for 2009-2010 2009-2010 Salary RFA UFA
Ryan Miller $6,250,000
Patrick Lalime $1,000,000
Total Goalie Salary $7,250,00


This is the only area that the Sabres are already set.  There is a report that the injury to Lalime could be worse than what was thought and the Sabres might be looking for a backup for the third consecutive season.

The Team
Position 2009-2010 Salary
Forwards $27,825,000
Defense $11,526,666
Goalies $7,250,000
Total 2009-2010 Salary $46,61,666
Money Left to Spend $3,398,334


Unless they are able to trade away some salary, the Sabres will not be able to make very many moves in the off-season.  There are probably some players that could be bought out and there may be some trades as well that cold free up some space for the Sabres.  It's also possible that they could turn to some rookies to make an immediate impact in the lineup.