Home HockeyBuzz Register Login
albany, NY • United States •
With the recent resignation of Pat LaFontaine being shrouded in almost total mystery with an over abundance of theories flying around the internet (mine is that he was merely a figurehead and when that reality hit, with the lack of power he had relative to the new GM, he decided being a rah-rah free agent recruiter wasn't the job for him), I thought the best way to leave that mess behind was to do a review of the current roster and young players. Specifically geared towards each of their respective futures with the team.

Ville Leino LW - @$4.5M thru 2016-2017, Leino is an obvious candidate for a buyout. His lack of compete and will, along with what seems like a sour and toxic attitude makes the decision seem clear. The only hangup? The Sabres need to hit the cap floor. Who do they pay? addition by subtraction

Cody Hodgson C - new $4.25M deal thru 2018-2019 could go one of two ways. He could end up being a one dimensional, third line scoring C who needs to be away from the top pairing D of the other team to be most effective, or he continue a slow and steady improvement that could turn $4.25M into gold. Some see him as a player you don't necessarily win with. Very tough call. With the cap going up, he could be a vet. depth at a reasonable pay rate while remaining productive assuming there are two strong lines in addition to the one he centers. Keep, with reservations noted

Drew Stafford RW - $4M for one more year, and there is no arguing he has really picked up his game since Nolan got behind the bench. However, it feels like we have all seen this act before. His strong play, despite being continuous this year, seems artificial. If you can get somebody to take his salary, you do it, unless the return is a late round pick. keep until current deal runs out, then cut the chord

Matt Moulson LW - UFA to be, has shown he is more than a goal scorer. Has a nice all around game, the kind of player you feel like you can win with. Will command right around $6M for 5 years. Time is running out to make a deal. trade him, give him a shot at a cup, throw a deal his way come FA time and hope he comes back

Chris Stewart RW - $4.15M for one more year. Everyone sees potential. Lazy? One year wonder? A bigger Stafford? likely gone without even wearing the uniform

Tyler Ennis C/W - RFA to be, likely looking at a 2-3 year deal at $3-$3.25M per. Can he be a force on a cup contender? MAJOR question mark. Can he be a force on a third line with someone like Hodgson while two other lines take the bulk of the action from the top 2 D pairings of the opponent? I think definitely, yes, but if you don't think so, nor do you think he can be effective with Hodgson, you look to deal him. keep for now, but when he hits the UFA age, his time will be up

Cody McCormick C/W - UFA making $1.2M currently. His time in the leauge may be up, but do the Sabres have better 4th line options? With the new model being one of leaving the kids in the AHL until they are fully ready, there may be a home for him on one last deal. cut ties, sign Konopka instead

Zenon Konopka C - bargain basement at $925K heading into UFA status. no brainer resign as the 4th line C instead of the ineffective McCormick

Zemgus Girgensons LW/C - Is there any way his heart can be transplanted into other players, especially Foligno? a foundational and winning player

Marcus Foligno LW - his name should be Edward Nigma, as his play has been even less reliable. Seemingly gone are the go-go engine, consistent big checks, constant energy, and scoring. The lack of scoring could be forgivable if the more important first three facets hadn't also disappeared. What will he command for his upcoming RFA deal? $1.2M? $1.5M Buffalo will likely keep and pay, however... include in trade with Halak to Minn. or Washington to up the return

John Scott LW - while the UFA to be's role is no longer needed, there is little wrong with keeping him on for another year to fill out the W on the 4th line with Konopka centering him. The Sabres are far from ready to have a checking/scoring 4th line. year to year decision, keep for one more

Brian Flynn RW/C - making $637K for one more season and is an ideal fit for your 4th line (3rd in this case potentially) as your checker and sometime scorer. Can play all situations. Never a liability on the ice. Will be perfect for strong 4th line if level of play continues at age 29 when Buffalo is hopefully ready to make a deep run. keep at the current bargain rate

Matt Ellis LW - identical to Scott in terms of situation except Buffalo has him for one more year at $550K. keep for 4th line or AHL leadership

Matt D'Agostini RW - UFA to be making $550K will be bargain bin shopper's delight at deadline, perhaps? target for teams looking to fill for depth at the deadline

Tyler Myers - $5.5M thru 2018-2019, there is a lot of talk about Myers maybe being moved at the deadline. Consider me strongly in the camp of that being a horrible decision based on his play this season, his per year pay, what the team will actually pay him, and what he will be worth 2 more years into that deal. The return would have to be nothing short of a true first line C, not an O'Reilly who MAY be that but is not that. I'm a believer. He will be the anchor of this D for when they are finally ready to make a true Cup run. hands off, he will be a bargain and it won't be long before that is the case

Christian Ehrhoff - Originally, I felt the same way about him that I do Myers, although his ceiling is clearly not as high, but his pay going through the end of eternity makes his situation a bit different. Stewart alone will not get what Murray likely wants from Ottawa, and Ottawa really needs a top end D to pair with Karlsson above all else. deal, but only if the return is commensurate with his true worth

Henrik Tallinder - as good as gone to any team looking for D depth at the deadline. His pay, while a million high, is not totally prohibitive. say goodbye for a 3rd round pick at best

Jamie McBain - RFA currently making $1.8M has been OK with the team. Not often noticeable, which isn't a horrible thing. They have to pay someone, and paying him around what he is making now for another year is fine, especially considering what I think of Weber below. sign the RFA sheet for one more year

Mike Weber - $1.67M deal thru 2015-2016 looks like poor decision on the face of it but assuming the powerhouse tandem of young D needing another full season or two be truly ready, the timing of the deal makes more sense. However, his game has been crumbling and he is a liability to every D partner on the team. get rid of if possible, if not now, next year

Alexander Sulzer - UFA will not be on the team after this season. say your farewells

Jhonas Enroth - signed for one more year at $1.25M. While many are non-believers and understandably so based on his body of work, I believe he is the kind of goalie that will thrive with a heavier workload, one that includes facing a larger volume of shots, which is exactly the situation in Buffalo. Is he the future? 90% no, but for the remainder of this season, and next, he will be. would be a strong tandem with Thomas Greiss if Buffalo can pick up that UFA G

Jaroslav Halak - say hello to Minn. or Washington Jaro. Likely not wearing a uniform. say hello to the Wild with Foligno at your side while Buffalo takes back Heatley to majorly enhance the return

Nikita Zadorov D & Rasmus Ristolainen D - the future twin towers. The goal would be to have them fully ready to take over in 2015-2016 paragons of strength

Mikhail Grigorenko C - a true enigma, and hard to figure. The time to trade him was last year, if that were to happen, to get any kind of return. Now, that is an impossibility, and the only way to tell what they truly have is when he can go to the AHL and play a full season there. wait and see, and pray

Joel Armia RW - has not had the scoring touch this year in the AHL after showing that overseas. Early season injury may have hamepered his development. Ideal scenario would be to play with Grigorenko next season in the AHL and hope sparks develop between the two. hope he and Mikhail can be attached at the hip and provide fire while filling the net

Mark Pysyk D - He is an ideal 4/5 D. A Teppo Numminen type who you barely notice on the ice. Not overly physical, always makes the right, quality first pass. Exudes calm everywhere on the ice, just like Miller did in goal. A constant asset. his time is now regarding next year with the big club

Johan Larsson LW/C - had to overcome a few issues earlier in the season, primary of which was his attitude being that of a diva, but has seemed to put that behind him and has been producing in the AHL steadily. While a C, might be best as a third line wing for Hodgson and Ennis, covering the defensive end of things, and any mistakes that arise on ice. ideal for 3rd line, or perhaps 4th line C down the road

Luke Adam C/W - he is an RFA, and it is hard to see Buffalo wanting anything to do with him. He exists in a nexus of a black hole in the organization as there is no future for him. being waived in his immediate future?

Brayden McNabb D - it is long past time for McNabb to get his shot in the NHL. Will he ever be a top 4 force? Likely not, as his peak is probably a 4, although he would be a perfect 5/6 with the way he plays, seeing most of his time against the 3rd and 4th lines of other teams, which he could handle with little trouble. part of the future

Matt Hackett G - so much more was expected of him compared to what he has shown, which has been inconsistent play with outbursts on the ice that make no sense as penalty minutes show. A hothead in goal is the exact opposite of what you want. Heading towards the door unless he rebounds. Corsi to the rescue?

Jake McCabe D - still in college, but this might be his final season, and Sabres fan cannot wait to see him play. Next year will be in the AHL. After that, sky is the limit. the future rock of Sabres Gilbraltar

Chad Ruhwedel D - has shown, in limited viewing, that he belongs on the NHL level. He won't excite you in any one area of his play, but he won't hurt you either. Steady is the word. A nice 6/7 D man for Buffalo, if not a potential 5. rounds out the future D

The only thing clear from the above is that Buffalo needs a bunch of impact forwards, that and the possible future D could be:

Myers - Ristolainen
Zadorov - McCabe
Pysyk - McNabb
Filed Under:   Buffalo   Sabres   Myers   Zadorov   Ristolainen   Nolan   Murray  
March 3, 2014 2:47 PM ET | Delete
am of the opinion that murray does not need--with need being the operative word--to do much of anything...there are some obvious moves like hank and probably halak, maybe konopka and sulzer...getting the miller trade done really took a lot of pressure off him...
March 3, 2014 2:49 PM ET | Delete
will never understand why so many are quick to move players with term at this time of year...the trade deadline is made for rentals, which makes guys like stewart and Stafford more appealing next season...am of the opinion that stewart should be kept as a building block if necessary...
March 3, 2014 2:52 PM ET | Delete
absolutely no reason to trade either myers or ehrhoff right now...with the way myers has been playing, he may end up being in the mix long term...ehrhofff will fetch more this summmer, but again, why the rush?...those kids on defense are at least a few years from having an impact...that being said, I really like that defense corps, cong
March 3, 2014 4:58 PM ET | Delete
Thought it was written that Luke Adam got a restart with the arrival of Patty Lala and Tim Murray. Recent articles about him seem to indicate his play has risen in Racha...i wouldnt throw him away just yet like you suggest.
March 4, 2014 1:25 AM ET | Delete
Agree with most of this. The interesting thing will be ennis and hodgson. Once moulson is gone they will be our only 2 top 6 forwards on the team. Both will be signed to reasonable contracts and murray will have to decide whether they are guys that can get us to the cup. I dont see either playing on the third line- I assume they will go with a more traditional checking line with girgensons and larsson. Ones gonna get moved, and I dont see ennis on hodgsons wing on the second line. If ive gotta pick, I think im leaning towards keeping ennis, but its gonna depend on the market and the return.
March 4, 2014 7:24 PM ET | Delete
Ennis and Hodgson will be traded. The prayer of McDavid will make him first then Grigorenko or Reinhart then Girgensons
Leave a Comment
You must be logged in to leave a comment.