The playoffs are about to start, but it is never too early to look ahead to next year, especially depending on what happens in the playoffs, so here's my take on what to do with the Sabres roster next season.
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NOTE: There will be no speculation of trades in this post, just salary figures on who is committed to contracts and assumptions of what some Free Agent re-signings might cost.
If we look at the players we have committed to contracts next season, we start off with a base cap-hit of 44.435M (using NHL Numbers for all figures). The current cap ceiling appears to be 57.7M.
We currently have 12 Free Agents, of which 4 are Restricted (some AHL players are left out of this total). I would suggest we re-sign our 3 RFAs to slight increases (Kennedy from .635 to 1M, Kaleta from .522 to 1M, Mancari from .575 to .85, and Weber to .9 from .75).
Of the remaining 8 Free Agents (Grier, Mair, Ellis, Torres, McCormick, Lydman, Tallinder and Lalime), I would prefer we only re-sign Torres (3M) and McCormick (who'd remain in the AHL most likely). I wouldn't mind Grier coming back, but the 1M+ salary could be used elsewhere.
With those signings, it leaves us with 13 Forwards and 6 Defensemen:
Vanek, Pomminville, Connolly, Roy, Hecht, Gaustad, Stafford, Gerbe, Ennis, Mancari, Kennedy, Torres, Kaleta
Rivet, Montador, Sekera, Myers, Butler, Weber
With all those salaries added up, and guesses to Free Agent re-signings (not going outside the organization, too much speculation there), this totals 51.485M, leaving us just over 6M to sign a seventh defenseman and a backup goalie.
That's a lot of wiggle room to:
- sign a significant Free Agent (plus the flexibility of not re-signing Torres frees up 2.75M+ in salary for a bigger splash)
- removes a lot (but not all) junk from the roster (Grier, Mair, Ellis, Tallinder, Lydman, Lalime)
- helps keep our "core" together.
Opinions are welcome, trolls will be ignored.
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