Long story short, nothing. And everything.
Nothing because there is not a single chance in the world that the Sabres would do something as ridiculous as sign Kovalchuk. The Sabres already have 2 contracts like that: Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville. On a quick aside, I would be very inclined to say that dumping either of those at the right price would be a very intelligent thing to do by the Sabres front office, which means it won't happen. Both contracts came in the wake of the Drury/Briere days in Buffalo, and have ended up pretty severe miscalculations, in my opinion. Anyways, since those contracts were signed, no ridiculous contracts, arguably, have been signed by the Sabres. There was the Vezina winning Miller contract over $6 million, which of course has been well earned, and the Connolly contract at $4.5 million, also fairly earned, after almost a full season without serious injury, close to point per game pace, 16 game point streak, and playing through an injured foot that took a puck to it at the end of the regular season. Lesson learned on those overinflated contracts hopefully.
Everything because it opens the doors on the free agency market, or what's left of it, again. With the teams in the Kovalchuk runnings focusing on their cap issues should they get him, and you know it will be at an extreme cost, the focus will come off of the rest of the UFAs, RFAs, and tradeable assets somewhat. Which means the rumors that have been swirling about the Sabres and Kaberle, Savard, Stempniak, Kariya, Regehr, et al become that much more likely. Maybe not in the case of Kaberle and Regehr, but certainly the forwards of the bunch. Buffalo's defense has enough NHL veterans or guys with some game time under their belts as it is, and all of whom are solid at worst.
Do I believe the rumors about Marc Savard? I certainly hope so and they makes sense to an extent. Acquiring the added depth at center, would make the top 3 lines centered by talent and experience in Savard, Connolly or Roy, and Niedermayer. The Bruins are in need of some cap space and sooner or later they will have to dump money and if they do it sooner rather than later, Savard may be the answer. However, then the question becomes what to do about all the centers on the Sabres. The question becomes does Roy or Connolly get traded to allow a LW acquisition to occur that the team arguably desperately needs? It's very plausible. If one must go, I vote for Roy because, even though he is paid $500k less and had a few more points than Connolly last year and shows a little more fire on an average basis, his ability to give the puck to the other team and bone-headed decisions, especially faking out entering the zone to force his teammates offsides and then going in, make him a liability in both offensive and defensive terms.
The Lee Stempniak rumors I hear are certainly the most interesting and intriguing of the bunch. The right wings for the team are Pominville, Stafford, Grier and Kaleta. Grier and Kaleta have been solid in their roles and won't be moved. Pominville is too expensive to move for too little production the last couple seasons. Stafford has been relegated to being the odd man out if Stempniak is pulled in. Though both have shown inconsistency, Stempniak showed immense potential last year after being moved to the Coyotes and at maybe a million or slightly more in a cap hit, not to mention the PR points that the Sabres desperately need after buying out hometown boy Tim Kennedy.
Paul Kariya? A long shot perhaps, especially now considering all the rumors of a return to Anaheim and Selanne's supposed lobbying for his former teammate.
So, for the Sabres' sake, and assuming Darcy is still looking to pull the trigger on a deal, let's hope the deal is canceled out.