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Old June 21st, 2007, 12:20 AM   #1
jmancuso
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The Sports Bar | Northeast Sports Discussion

post here to discuss all things sabers' off season stuff. this will be closed when the pre-season starts in the fall.




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if there is a demand for discussion about other northeastern NHL teams in addition to the sabres, i will rename this thread to NHL off-season thread but in the meantime, it looks like buffalo is the only one discussed here.
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Old June 21st, 2007, 12:25 AM   #2
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Sabres make offers to five
By John Vogl
Updated: 06/20/07 7:09 AM

The Buffalo Sabres, a full month after ending the 2006-07 season, have finally started working on the next one.

The Sabres have extended qualifying offers to five of their six restricted free agents, led by leading goal scorer Thomas Vanek, a team spokesman announced Tuesday night. The Sabres also made offers to forwards Derek Roy, Andrew Peters and Daniel Paille, and defenseman Nathan Paetsch. Only minor-league goaltender Adam Berkhoel failed to receive a qualifying offer, though the team has until Monday to make him one.

A qualifying offer allows the Sabres to match any contract the players receive from other teams, or entitles them to draft-pick compensation should they decline.

Extending the qualifying offer is merely the beginning of the negotiating process. Vanek, for example, will not sign his offer of $989,100. The 23-year-old led the team with 43 goals and a plus-47 rating, so he expects a much bigger paycheck.

ďHopefully, as in the past, we can get common ground and get things done,Ē Vanekís agent, Stephen Bartlett, said by phone.

ďI think Thomas is a very special player. Heís not unique that there havenít been other special players like Thomas that you see around the league that have gotten consideration pretty early in his career, but certainly we look at him as being a very, very special and valuable asset. Hopefully, the team sees that as well.Ē

Players who made less than $660,000 ó such as Roy ($627,000), Paetsch ($495,000), Peters ($460,00) and Berkhoel ($450,000) ó have to be given an offer of 110 percent of last seasonís salary. Players above $660,000 but below $1 million ó such as Vanek ($942,000) and Paille ($760,000) ó must receive 105 percent of their previous salary.



Really doesn't mean much, but it's a start.
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Old June 21st, 2007, 08:32 AM   #3
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my guess is we will see Buffalo shed some weight (Peters, Paille, Paetch) to save guys like Roy and Vanek.

There is a few talented players in Rochester who could make a debut and still keep the team young. Drury and Briere IMO will both stay, but barely.

Some guys never really stepped up 100% this past season and I think that will matter come time to cut or keep.

Keepers--
Miller
Drury
Vanek
Briere
Campbell
Zubrus
Afinaganov
Roy
Pomminville
Numminen
Hecht
Spacek
Kaleta

Take a walk--
Paille
Peters
Mair
Kotalik
Kalinin


thats all I can think of right off hand...Jay McKee? back in D?

We'll see what happens.
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Old June 21st, 2007, 02:51 PM   #4
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Bucky Gleason had an interesting plan, to which I can't say I entirely disagree...

Quote:
If I was Sabres GM for a day ...
Columnist Bucky Gleason takes on the role of Sabres general manager. His mission: sign Daniel Briere and Chris Drury while keeping payroll to $44 million
By Bucky Gleason
Updated: 06/20/07 1:18 PM

A few weeks ago, I wrote a column suggesting the Buffalo Sabres should find a way to keep Chris Drury and Daniel Briere. After all, Anaheim Ducks General Manager Brian Burke was able to acquire highpriced defenseman Chris Pronger to go with Scott Niedermayer en route to winning the Stanley Cup.

Burke was masterful in massaging the $44 million salary cap and building a tough, talented team that was clearly the best at seasonís end. It took some bold, unpopular decisions along the way for him to spend 30 percent of his payroll on two players. Burke could have looked foolish had the Ducks been bounced early in the playoffs.

Of course, it didnít take long before a certain segment of the populace, aka bosses, challenged me to figure out a formula that would enable the Sabres to keep their two co-captains, who are set to become unrestricted free agents July 1. Yes, they asked me to be general manager for a day.

Any chance I could get paid like one?

My goal is to keep the Sabres competitive, keep the two stars on the roster without gutting the core of the team and keep the payroll to $44 million, which is about what the Sabres spent last season while turning a profit. Itís well below next seasonís projected salary cap, between $48 million and $52 million.

Click here to see details of The Gleason Plan

Granted, itís a little intimidating. I almost sympathized with Sabres GM Darcy Regier, who has the unenviable task of adhering to his budget while building a contender. But letís be honest, my job isnít on the line here. It should be no more daunting than hitting a par-3 over water on a video game.

My biggest beef with Regier for years has been his refusal to lock up his players at bargain prices before they sign elsewhere for more money. Heíll say players ultimately decide whether to stay or leave, and heís right. But usually they hit the road because they felt like they had no choice, as Jay McKee did last year.

Drury and Briere arenít looking for monster contracts as much as fair value and a chance to play for a Stanley Cup contender. Neither is comfortable signing for big money if it means the other one is forced to leave because that makes the Sabres weaker. Theyíll take a hometown discount, but they arenít coming cheap.

Lock up top trio

To me, keeping them actually starts with Thomas Vanek, the 23- year-old winger who scored 43 goals last season. Heís a restricted free agent, meaning the Sabres would need to match outside offers to retain him. Itís difficult to measure where he fits in a fluid market, especially because a handful of GMs lose their marbles at this time of year.

So letís not give them a chance and risk losing, gulp, all three.

Vanek made $942,000 in the final year of his rookie contract. Heís a gifted scorer with defensive deficiencies, still growing and on the verge of greatness. He doesnít have arbitration rights, which gives the Sabres some leverage now but could bury them if he gets to the bargaining table in two years.

Based on sources within the industry, a four-year deal worth $15 million would be ideal for Vanek and the Sabres. It would begin at $3 million with $500,000 per year increases throughout the course of the contract. It might mean overpaying Vanek now, but he would be a bargain in 2010-11 if they can stave off arbitration for a couple of years.

Carolina center Eric Staal was in a similar position last summer and signed a three-year deal worth $13.5 million. Vanek has 68 goals and 132 points the past two NHL seasons. Columbus winger Rick Nash, with 58 goals and 111 points over the same span on a worse team, signed a fiveyear deal for $27 million. The Blue Jackets overpaid for him.

Sabres owner Tom Golisano saved the franchise, certainly, but he also made an investment when pulling the Sabres out of bankruptcy. Their value has more than doubled since the lockout. Good for Buffalo, terrific for him. But it doesnít mean he should simply empty the vault, either.

There are spending limits for all players, including Drury and Briere. Drury is more valuable for this team because heís solid on both ends and has all the intangibles. He scored 37 goals last season and was the teamís top penalty-killing forward. Briere is the first to admit Drury taught him how to win. Drury leads by example.

For all the grief Briere took after the playoffs, he led Buffalo with 15 postseason points. He also led the Sabres in playoff scoring the previous year. He led the team with 95 points during the regular season. He had 58 points in 48 games in 2005-06, which put him on pace for a team-leading 99 points.

Drury could get $7 million a year in the open market, but I wouldnít go that high. A five-year deal for $33 million sounds about right. Drury would get $6.75 million in each of the first three years of the deal, $6.5 million the fourth year and $6.25 million the final year. Not bad considering he made $3.154 million in 2006-07.

Briere would like a six-year deal. Sorry, five years for $29 million. Thatís a risk for a smaller player who will be 34 years old at the end of the contract. Briere would be paid $6 million for each of the first three years, $5.75 million for the fourth and $5.25 million for the final year. Itís more than former MVP Martin St. Louis is making in Tampa.

The deals would be front-loaded because thatís when both players, based on their ages, should be most effective. Less money at the end makes them easier to trade. Not good enough? Goodbye. The Sabres could overpay someone else, such as Islanders winger Ryan Smyth, another gamer about to hit the market for similar money.

Sounds easy, huh? Itís not.

Do the math, and that means three players would receive $15.75 million next season. Itís 36 percent of my payroll, which is high, but Niedermayer ($6.75 million), Pronger ($6.25 million) and Andy McDonald ($3.33 million) accounted for more in Anaheim. As Burke said, it makes sense when itís the right players. Drury, Briere and Vanek are the right players.

Moving Max saves cash

When you add up the aforementioned Sabres and my new deals for them ó youíre welcome, gentlemen ó plus the players already under contract while factoring in raises, a $44 million payroll gets blown to bits. Donít worry. The Sabres need to trim certain players to add toughness, which is cheaper. But this is where it gets uncomfortable.

Burke traded a 28-goal, 53-point scorer in Joffrey Lupul, a promising defenseman in Ladislav Smid, plus first- and second-round picks for Pronger. He also had to ship proven defenseman Vitaly Vishnevski to Atlanta. Burke paid a ton, but he has a clear conscience every time he sees his reflection in the Stanley Cup.

The Sabres can trim by shopping Maxim Afinogenov and Jaroslav Spacek and saying goodbye to Teppo Numminen and rental Dainius Zubrus. Afinogenov, Spacek and Numminen made $8.825 million combined last season. Afinogenov and Spacek are scheduled to cost the Sabres $6.975 million next season. Itís too much for a team that was 16-7-3 without Afinogenov, 9-6-2 without Spacek and 7-4-1 without both.

My moneyís on Drew Stafford.

Buffalo also needs to account for restricted free agents Nathan Paetsch, Derek Roy, Daniel Paille and Andrew Peters. Peters will gladly accept his 10 percent raise. And this doesnít account for Clarke MacArthur and Patrick Kaleta, whose NHL salaries for next season are $1.125 million combined. The Sabres need a little more Kaleta and a little less Max, and they also need depth for the blue line.

It makes trading Afinogenov an easy decision. Heís an electrifying player who sells tickets. He has 132 points over his past 133 games. He also has 10 goals and 23 points in 49 career playoff games. He was also a healthy scratch for a playoff game, for heavenís sake. Itís not enough for a guy on the books for $3.5 million next season. Certainly, the Sabres can find a prospect, a defenseman or gritty third-line player for Afinogenov, accepting fully theyíre cutting costs and giving up enormous talent that . . . that disappears in the postseason.

Plus, you never know what can happen. The player coming back in the Afinogenov swap could lead to another deal that could include Ales Kotalik or Dmitri Kalinin, allowing me to trim payroll even more while keeping the core of my lineup intact. Itís still a darned good team.

Money left to spare

Anything for Spacek is better than nothing. Heís a good guy and a team player, but signing him was a mistake. Finding a team for him could be difficult. Then again, Tampa Bay just acquired Chris Gratton for the third time. Spacek is set to make $3.475 million next season, a crime considering Paetsch made $495,000 last season and had one more point (22) in two fewer games (63).

Paetsch is a versatile player who can play defense and add grit and energy to the fourth line. Iím confident in re-signing him knowing heís not going to kill payroll. He made $495,000 last season, so a three-year deal worth $2.2 million ($600,000, $750,000, $850,000) is within reason.

Paetsch, a tough veteran for less than $1 million for the blue line and grooming rookie Andrej Sekera as a seventh defenseman should be enough to keep the Sabres in the playoff race going into the trade deadline next year. They could become active this summer if they move Kalinin ($2.25 million), who needs a change in scenery.

Dallasí Jon Klemm, Coloradoís Ken Klee and Ottawaís Tom Preissing are among the free-agent defensemen who made less than $1 million last season. West Seneca native and former U.S. Olympian Aaron Miller is an unrestricted free agent who made $2.28 million last year with the Kings but is expected to make much less this year. The 34-year-old is tough, solid defensively, smart, a leader and heís very close friends with Drury. Former Sabres prospect Cory Sarich made $1.6 million last season. It would take a couple of aggressive moves to land him, but he would help solve several problems.

All told, keeping Drury and Briere and breaking ties with the four veterans, my Sabresí payroll would be $43.571 million. If you donít mind, Iíll keep the change. And pray nobody gets injured.

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Old June 21st, 2007, 03:01 PM   #5
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Drury is going to the Kings or Sharks.

The Flyers will go after Scott Gomez or Daniel Briere when free agency starts. They will also probably go after defense, for players like Sheldon Souray or someone else.
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Old June 21st, 2007, 05:54 PM   #6
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There are a lot of rumors that Drury not only wants to move to Cali for his wife (who is from there), but he wants to be back with Grier. After the playoffs we realize how much he missed his play.

Another rumor is either Craig Rivet or Scott Hannan (Both D) coming here. It looks like Drury is out, which leaves us to sign both Briere & Vanek W/O worry.But who knows.
Then if it were up to me, trade Kotalik & Kalinin for a tough feisty forward that can score. Oh wait we have him here Zubrius. These next couple weeks should be interesting though. Last night i was watching the news and they said "Roy in his third year with 60+ points", and i thought really?Huh. Roy, i guess did have that many points, and he is young. He kinda went unnoticed with Vanek, Drury & Briere.
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Old June 21st, 2007, 07:40 PM   #7
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My dental hygenist is related to Drury's wife...

I'm thinking they lost him thanks to their lack of commitment, a la Mike Grier. They really need to stop this non-commital stuff, they're shooting themselves in the foot. Repeatedly.
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Old June 21st, 2007, 07:40 PM   #8
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I don't know if Buffalo will sign Briere and Vanek without worry. The Flyers will offer a contract to Vanek for $3-4 million. That would force the Sabres to pay as much, which would leave less room for signing Briere.
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Old June 21st, 2007, 07:48 PM   #9
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I'd ship Max out. I'd liketo see Zubrus stick around. Might be too much $$$$. I'd do everything possible to keep Drury.
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Old June 22nd, 2007, 06:15 AM   #10
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The Flyers are still considering trading the #2 pick for an established player. One rumor that's been persistent is the Flyers sending the pick to Tampa Bay for Vincent Lecavalier.
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Old June 22nd, 2007, 05:22 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xzmattzx View Post
The Flyers are still considering trading the #2 pick for an established player. One rumor that's been persistent is the Flyers sending the pick to Tampa Bay for Vincent Lecavalier.
I'd trade Briere for the 2nd pick. Bring Kane here!
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Old June 22nd, 2007, 05:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spaulding97 View Post
I'd trade Briere for the 2nd pick. Bring Kane here!
The Blackhawks will probably draft Kane.
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Old June 22nd, 2007, 05:30 PM   #13
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I know, wishfull thinking about a bad outcome.
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Old June 22nd, 2007, 05:34 PM   #14
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Another possibility that could happen is that the Flyers could trade down in the draft. The Oilers have 3 first round picks, including #6 overall, and want some defensive help. The Flyers would like to get rid of some money so that they can sign Briere or Gomez. One scenario would send Joni Pitkanen, who struggled this year and is a restricted free agent, to the Oilers with the #2 pick for the #6 pick and one or both of the other first round picks. If the Flyers trade down to another team, Geoff Sanderson or Denis Gauthier might be involved with the trade in oder to free up a couple million.
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Old June 22nd, 2007, 07:46 PM   #15
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Antone looking for a real good site for rumors and trade talks here is the link:
http://www.hockeybuzz.com/boards/thr...=21280&page=26

Its very very reliable, this guy Eklund goes on sport talk radio shows and talks about rumors and trades. Plus its funny to see all the leaf fans talk trash.
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Old June 23rd, 2007, 04:37 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xzmattzx View Post
The Flyers are still considering trading the #2 pick for an established player. One rumor that's been persistent is the Flyers sending the pick to Tampa Bay for Vincent Lecavalier.
The Flyers just acquired Scott Hartnell and Kimmo Timonen from the Preds, so the Flyers' lineup for next season is already beginning to look good.

It looks like the Sabres will want to keep Briere more than Drury according to some rumors, albeit much to my chagrin, I like Drury better. As for Vanek, Sabres looks like will have to give him top dollar if they're gonna keep him.

Trading Briere for the 2nd overall draft pick, though, that would be interesting. If Patrick Kane is gone, get SAM GAGNER, he's the next best thing!
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Old June 23rd, 2007, 04:50 AM   #17
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The Flyers surprised me with their pick. I thought they were going to take Kyle Turris. Van Riemsdyk is from South Jersey, though, so they got a good local guy.

It's interesting seeing how far some people fell. When the FLyers were plummeting and it looked like they would get the top pick, the three people continuously talked about were Voracek, Esposito, and Cherpanov. I'm not surprised that Cherepanov fell so far, with the Malkin ordeal and everything. But tlaking about Voracek and Esposito as the #1 overall pick and then seeing them go closer towards the middle of the first round is different.

Looks like the Capitals have new jerseys. They went retro.
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Old June 25th, 2007, 07:29 PM   #18
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funny how you look at this...Brier, Vanek and Drury are all great players...one is a miracle guy, one can score, score, score and another is a play maker.

IMO miracles are only needed if the team is in a tough spot (overall) and keeping Drury around assuming that will be the case may perhaps facilitate a repeat of last season. Briere can structure plays, he is a team guy and a very big asset.

Keep Vanek...as we need a leading consistent score maker.
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Old June 27th, 2007, 07:50 AM   #19
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Knowing this is off-topic, but if the Sabres ended up NEVER winning the Stanley Cup as a franchise, and if the team had to re-locate...

you think it should re-locate to ALBANY? Then NYS could still keep its third team. Then those stupid Leaf fans will have to spend about $10 and drive 280 miles to go to hockey games there!
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Old June 27th, 2007, 07:54 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmancuso View Post
post here to discuss all things sabers' off season stuff. this will be closed when the pre-season starts in the fall.




***
if there is a demand for discussion about other northeastern NHL teams in addition to the sabres, i will rename this thread to NHL off-season thread but in the meantime, it looks like buffalo is the only one discussed here.
Why did you put a picture of the sabres old symbol? You probably don't even follow the team... or hockey...
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