FanPost

Meet the new UFAs

The Buffalo Sabres are letting Scott Wilson walk - Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL has seen a shift in contract negotiation tactics this offseason, as many GMs have declined to qualify their depth RFAs. In the case of a few of these guys (not unlike Scott Wilson of the Sabres), they may have been left unqualified in the hopes of negotiating without the specter of arbitration looming large.

As a result, the UFA market suddenly looks a lot deeper. Many of these guys would look great rocking the Blue and Gold, so the question to you, the reader is who out of this group would you like to see the Sabres sign?

The Newly Minted UFAs:

Emile Poirier (LW, Calgary Flames): The 23 year-old, 6'2" LW former 22nd overall pick has carved out a decent role in the AHL, but has yet to garner more than a taste of action at the NHL level (8 games total). Had 7 goals, 31 points for Stockton last season. Could add size to the fourth line, and is a left winger which automatically makes him a potential target for the Sabres.

Nick Shore (C, Calgary Flames): Had a strange season last year, as he bounced between three teams. Didn't do much for his two new teams (4 points in 15 games), but being traded twice in a season is bound to make someone feel unsettled. Strictly a fourth liner, he has 53 points in 236 games. He's decent at face-offs (50.6% career FO%), and is quite good in terms of possession (career 55.3% cf%, 1.7% cf%Rel). He would replace Josefson nicely for the Sabres.

Anthony Duclair (LW, Chicago Blackhawks): Only 22 years-old, already has played in 213 games and has put up 89 points in the process. Somehow will already play for his FOURTH NHL team in his fifth season. Is a positive possession player (2.8 cf% Rel for his career), and is seriously only 22 years old (turns 23 in August). Personally, I would sign this guy to some term and bank that he outperforms a modest contract while playing with either Eichel, O'Reilly or Mittelstadt.

Tobias Rieder (LW, Los Angeles Kings): The Kings acquired the 25 year-old winger in the hopes that he would provide offense to their roster, they then relegated him to the fourth line, and he was never able to carve out a larger role. The cap-strapped Kings decided that letting him go for nothing was better than paying him a raise on his $2.25 million contract. He represents a nice buy-low option for the Sabres to round out their bottom-6 with. He has 111 points in 292 games, and is okay with possession, carrying a 1.0 cf%Rel that reflects better than his career 47 cf% would initially indicate.

Daniel Carr (LW, Montreal Canadiens): The fact that the 26 year-old LW was left unqualified was a mild surprise for many. After two years of marginal performances in the NHL, Daniel Carr managed to contribute 6 goals and 16 points in 32 games last season. He's also a very good player at the AHL level, putting up 90 points in 139 career games. He would at a minimum provide Rochester with needed offensive production, but would also provide much needed LW depth.

Zach Fucale (G, Montreal Canadiens): It wasn't very long ago that this 23 year-old second round pick was considered the future in net for Montreal. He hasn't been able to elevate his game though, and spent most of last two seasons in the ECHL. While he's far from ready to be an NHL contributor, he would be an intriguing signing and could clearly use a change of scenery.

Ken Appleby (G, New Jersey Devils): The 23 year-old goaltending prospect was left unqualified in a relatively shocking move. Given his performance in 3 games this season (stopping 52 out of 55 shots) it's possible New Jersey is just trying to avoid a high arbitration award for someone who would at best be their third goaltender. However, it's certainly possible that he shakes loose and looks for a team that would provide him with a better chance at playing at the NHL level.

Brandon Davidson (D, New York Islanders): A trade-deadline acquisition for New York, the 26 year-old is a tall defensive defenseman that doesn't provide much offense from the back end, but isn't bad possession-wise (career 50.8 cf%, 1.5 cf%Rel). He does shoot left though, which actually probably means we already have a deal in place with him.

Shane Prince (LW, New York Islanders): The 25 year-old former second round pick has had an up-and-down career. He was largely effective in limited action in Ottawa (13 points in 44 games, 5.4 cf%Rel), then has had a rough go of it with the Islanders (25 points in 84 games, -3.4 cf%Rel). He would be an interesting signing as a change-of-scenery type who could contribute as a bottom-6 LW.

Fredrik Claesson (D, Ottawa Senators): The 25 year-old fifth round pick once played well as the wingman for Erik Karlsson, but struggled at times last season in his first full year in the NHL. Has put up 20 points in 113 NHL games, and has generally been a positive possession player. Another left-shooting defenseman, so do with that what you will.

Petr Mrazek (G, Philadelphia Flyers): Speaking of up and down. This poor guy has been around since he was 19 years-old, finally breaking in full time in his age-22 season, and putting up phenomenal numbers along the way. A Steve Mason-esque downfall ensued (although to be fair it took Mrazek 2 seasons to falter, not 1 like Mason). He wasn't good for Philadelphia either, and is likely staring at the prospects of struggling to find a job as a back-up. He wouldn't be the worst option as a back-up, but with the Sabres looking for more of a 1B to Ullmark's 1A, Mrazek doesn't quite fit that mold.

Riley Sheahan (C, Pittsburgh Penguins): Tom Kuhnhackl is already working out an extension with Pittsburgh, so it sounds as if he's unavailable. Sheahan, on the other hand, looks as if he will be available after an okay year with Pittsburgh. He's historically been an even possession player, but he didn't quite live up to that billing last season (48.1% cf%, -6 cf%Rel, compared to 51.6 cf%, 0.2 cf%Rel with Detroit). Has 130 points in 365 games, and is 50.3% in face-offs for his career. If there was a betting favorite of players to be signed by Buffalo, Sheahan may be it, he would fit nicely as the third or fourth-line center.

Dylan DeMelo (D, San Jose Sharks): Right shooting defensemen do exist! The 25 year-old played his first full NHL season last season, and put up 20 points in 63 games (albeit, no goals, and only 3 goals thus far in 133 career games). Is even across the board in possession metrics and would be a good signing for our bottom pairing.

Derrick Pouliot (D, Vancouver Canucks): The 24 year-old left-shooting defenseman is a decent young defender. Put up 22 points in his first full NHL season, and managed to be an even possession player on a bad Vancouver team. Ignoring the fact that he shoots left, he would be a good signing for a young Sabres team.

Devante Smith-Pelly (RW, Washington Capitals): The 26 year-old veteran winger is strictly a bottom-6 depth player, which must be disappointing considering he was a second round pick thought to be a future stud power forward. He has yet to crack 20 points in a season, and isn't a very good possession player (-5.3 cf%Rel for his career), but he's physical and can win puck battles. As part of a revamped bottom-6, the Sabres could do worse.

Joe Morrow (D, Winnipeg Jets): A 25 year-old (say it with me now) left shooting defenseman. Hasn't been a good possession player thus far in his career, but performed well at the end of last season for the Jets. Has put up 25 points in 121 games, and it could be said the former first round pick has only scratched the surface of his potential as he was a decent offensive defenseman in the WHL and then the AHL.

This is a FanPost written by a member of the community. It does not necessarily express the views or opinions of Die By The Blade.