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2011-12 Sabres Cap and Free Agency Discussion

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Old
03-27-2011, 07:57 PM
  #1
jfb392
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2011-12 Sabres Cap and Free Agency Discussion

Potential 2011-12 NHL Roster (* denotes RFA that can be retained if the organization desires)
LWCRWLDRDG
Vanek ($7,142,857)Roy ($4,000,000)Pominville ($5,300,000)Regehr ($4,020,000)Myers ($1,300,000)Miller ($6,250,000)
Ennis ($875,000)xStafford ($4,000,000)Leopold ($3,000,000) Enroth*
Gerbe*Hecht ($3,525,000)Boyes ($4,000,000)Sekera*  
xGaustad ($2,300,000)Kaleta ($907,500)Weber*  
  Kotalik ($3,000,000)Gragnani*  
   Morrisonn ($2,075,000)  

2011-12 Salary Cap
Upper LimitBonus CushionPayrollBonusesBuyoutsAvailable Cap Space# of Signed Players
$64,300,000None$51,862,024$425,000$166,667$12,437,97615

Potential 2011-12 Reserve Roster (* denotes RFA that can be retained if the organization desires, red players eligible to play in juniors)
LWCRWLDRDG
Foligno ($826,667)Adam ($875,000)Kassian ($870,000)Brennan ($875,000)Biega ($527,500)Leggio ($525,000)
xxTropp ($700,000)Schiestel ($750,000)Pysyk ($900,000)x
McCauley*Turnbull*Szydlowski ($528,333)McNabb ($715,000)  
Legacé ($558,333)x Crawford ($571,667)  
Boychuk ($?)  Persson*  

Organizational contract totals (50 contract limit)
2010-11#2011-12#
Roster23Roster15
Reserve22Reserve12
----RFA9
Total45Total27+9

2011-12 organizational contracts by position
LWCRWLDRDG
6 (2 RFA's)6 (1 RFA)811 (4 RFA's)33 (1 RFA)

Group II (RFA)
PlayerArbitration eligible?
Jhonas EnrothNo
Nathan GerbeYes
Marc-André GragnaniYes
Dennis McCauleyYes
Dennis PerssonNo
Andrej SekeraYes
Travis TurnbullYes
Mike WeberYes

Group III (UFA)
Player
Tim Conboy
Tim Connolly
Matt Ellis
Mike Grier
Patrick Lalime
Cody McCormick
Rob Niedermayer
Mark Parrish
Colin Stuart

Group IV (Defected RFA)
Player
Felix Schütz
Note: Apparently Schütz will become an unrestricted free agent. Not sure about the clause that allows him to do so; too much legal-ese.

Group VI (UFA) (Age 25 or over with 3 or more years of professional experience and <80 NHL games played)
Player
Mark Mancari
Derek Whitmore

Waiver eligibility (All NHL players age 25 or less listed, remaining years as of '11-'12 season, remaining game totals as of end of 2010-11 season)
PlayerExempt?Remaining
AdamYes (3 yrs, 160 games)2 yrs, 141 games
BiegaYes (3 yrs, 70 games)2 yrs, 70 games
BrennanYes (3 yrs, 160 games)1 yr, 160 games
ButlerNoN/A
ByronYes (3 yrs, 160 games)1 yr, 152 games
ConboyNoN/A
CrawfordYes (3 yrs, 160 games)2 yrs, 160 games
EllisNoN/A
EnnisYes (3 yrs, 160 games)1 yr, 55 games
EnrothYes (4 yrs, 80 games)1 yr, 64 games
FolignoYes (3 yrs, 160 games)3 yrs, 160 games
GerbeNoN/A
GragnaniNoN/A
LagacéYes (3 yrs, 160 games)2 yrs, 160 games
LeggioYes (1 yr)1 yr
KassianYes (4 yrs, 160 games)3 yrs, 160 games
KaletaNoN/A
MancariNoN/A
McCauleyNo N/A
McNabbYes (3 yrs, 160 games)3 yrs, 160 games
MyersNoN/A
ParrishNoN/A
PerssonNoN/A
PysykYes (4 yrs, 160 games) 4 yrs, 160 games
SekeraNoN/A
SchiestelYes (4 yrs, 160 games)1 yr, 160 games
StaffordNoN/A
SzydlowskiYes (3 yrs, 80 games)3 yrs, 80 games
TroppYes (3 yrs, 80 games)2 yrs, 80 games
WeberNoN/A
WhitmoreNoN/A


Last edited by jfb392: 06-26-2011 at 06:06 PM. Reason: Added Regehr, etc.
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Old
03-27-2011, 08:02 PM
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Great job, Thanks

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03-27-2011, 08:21 PM
  #3
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That's outstanding.

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Old
03-27-2011, 08:28 PM
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Is this the top to bottom review that we were promised in the past.

Great work. This will be incredibly useful.

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03-27-2011, 09:03 PM
  #5
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Nicely done! Just looking at the forwards first and breaking things down a bit as each roster subsection cascades to the next:

Possible NHL Level roster for 2011-2012

Vanek - Roy / xxxx - Pominville
Ennis - xxxx / Roy - Stafford
Gerbe - Hecht - Boyes
McCormick - Gaustad - Kaleta

That assumes they re-sign versatile foot soldier McCormick and retain Stafford. It still leaves at least one center position to fill through signing or trade, plus perhaps a vet swing-man to fill out the Niedermayer-Grier role and give them roster flexibility.

That cascades down to Portland with some variation of:

Adam (c) - Byron - Tropp
Foligno - xxxx - Kassian
Lagacé - xxxx - xxxx
xxxx - xxxx - xxxx

In my opinion, they need three solid vets to lead the way down there - Matt Ellis, current Pirates captain and one of the hardest working guys in the organization should be one of them as part of the leadership group to guide Kassian and the rest of the youngsters. Turnbull is a guy who might be back. I'd love to see DaCosta or Miele as one of the other centers down there - it may be a pipe dream, but those guys would help out a great deal with the depth issue. It would also allow them if they so choose to leave Adam back on LW.

McCauley may be replaceable with Boychuk and with the freedom to spend a bit, I could see the Sabres looking for a couple of guys in the Mancari/Parrish mold to round out the vet space and give the Sabres more re-call options. Some of those guys may be on NHL rosters at the moment, some not.

Ben Walter is someone I've liked for a while and might be a good fit as an offensive contributor with a probably departure or Mancari. He's UFA, also 26, and has produced well in the A. A Miele or DaCosta solve a problem in the middle too.

Having a Portland lineup that shakes out something like -

Adam (c) - Miele - ( Vet )
Foligno - (Walter) - Kassian
Ellis (c) - Bryon - Tropp
Boychuk - Turnbull - Conboy or vet
McCauley - - Legault (E Coast league)
Lagacé (E Coast league)

That would be a fairly heavy lineup, some smallish speed guys laced with some big, tough players who can play. Planting two guys in the ECHL also gives them some more flexibility when the injury bug strikes. The keys would be who is the vet forward other than Ellis to bring in and can they sign Miele or DaCosta and also Walter?

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03-27-2011, 09:35 PM
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I'd like to see a really good AHL vet center signed. When the injury bug bites, if Hecht is already at center, we can't shift him in, and we don't know how nhl ready Byron and Adam will be. Someone that can come up and play good nhl center would be valuable.

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03-27-2011, 10:03 PM
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Wow looking at that depth chart I am really pining for the team to sign Brad Richards to a 6/50 deal, along with resigning Connolly and Grier as the 13th forward. Maybe add a rugged d-man, but we have the potential to have 3 # 1 lines ala 05-06 if we can add Richards to a Roy/Connolly/Gaustad center core.

Or if Richards gets re-signed, sign Stamkos to a 9 year/ 100 million contract

He'd be worth the 4 1sts and the cap space.


Last edited by Layne Staley: 03-27-2011 at 10:10 PM.
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03-27-2011, 10:06 PM
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With a merely competent offseason, next year's team is shaping up to be very good.

There's some serious addition by subtraction about to take place...connoly, grier, lalime, and to a lesser extent(lately) niedermayer

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03-27-2011, 10:17 PM
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I cant wait to see what an offseason will be like with Pegula

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03-27-2011, 11:40 PM
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I didn't know Gragnani wasn't waiver eligible anymore. Makes things certainly interesting, I could imagine a rebuilding team taking a chance on him, if he was to be sent down next year. I would think he could be their 7th dmen, if he has a half-decent pre-season. Much in the same situation as Weber/Butler.

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03-27-2011, 11:49 PM
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Wow that is some superior graphics on display there, clearly I am in the major leagues of hockey message boards here! lol

I would just like too add, that Myers will be RFA after next season, so management needs too keep that in mind with everything they do. He's hitting the cap for around a million now, but he figures to get a HUGE raise after next season. Anywhere from 4-6 million I'll wager.

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03-28-2011, 12:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Play4Miracles View Post
Wow that is some superior graphics on display there, clearly I am in the major leagues of hockey message boards here! lol

I would just like too add, that Myers will be RFA after next season, so management needs too keep that in mind with everything they do. He's hitting the cap for around a million now, but he figures to get a HUGE raise after next season. Anywhere from 4-6 million I'll wager.
If we can lock up Myers for 4 against the cap I'll be ecstatic.

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03-28-2011, 01:00 AM
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does everyone think they'll keep hecht at center next year? he was very effective for us at LW last year, but it does create a logjam. honestly, if connolly took a pay cut, i wouldn't mind him staying here as a 3rd line center (assuming hecht is moved back to wing). he's a solid PK'er and is finally starting to show up.

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03-28-2011, 01:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Funky Monk View Post
does everyone think they'll keep hecht at center next year? he was very effective for us at LW last year, but it does create a logjam. honestly, if connolly took a pay cut, i wouldn't mind him staying here as a 3rd line center (assuming hecht is moved back to wing). he's a solid PK'er and is finally starting to show up.
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03-28-2011, 01:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Husko View Post
I'd like to see a really good AHL vet center signed. When the injury bug bites, if Hecht is already at center, we can't shift him in, and we don't know how nhl ready Byron and Adam will be. Someone that can come up and play good nhl center would be valuable.
I'd like to see more of a reclamation project (i.e. a prospect that has done well at the AHL level and hasn't made the NHL yet for one reason or another) rather than a vet.
Some kind of player that may still have upside and the potential to reach it, but needs a new start.
I don't want to give a veteran guy with no upside a lot of ice time that our prospects could have instead.
If it was a veteran NHL forward that got lost in a team's depth chart that was willing to play in the AHL and a bottom 6 role there, I'd be okay with that.

The veteran "career AHL" guys can play for teams that are ready to compete and have no prospects (like the Flyers) or for teams that are in traditional AHL markets (Hershey).

Some guys that would be interesting projects would be: T.J. Hensick (STL), Marc-Antoine Pouliot (TBL), or Ryan Stoa (COL).
I'm sure there are lots more out there too, but I'm not sure if their organizations want to give up just yet.
It's just something you have to look at individually so it's difficult.

Quote:
Originally Posted by meganie View Post
I didn't know Gragnani wasn't waiver eligible anymore. Makes things certainly interesting, I could imagine a rebuilding team taking a chance on him, if he was to be sent down next year. I would think he could be their 7th dmen, if he has a half-decent pre-season. Much in the same situation as Weber/Butler.
Well, he wasn't waiver exempt prior to this season either and wasn't claimed.
Since he's seemingly improved both his offensive and defensive game this year though, maybe someone will make the claim next season if he re-sign him and attempt to send him down.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Play4Miracles View Post
Wow that is some superior graphics on display there, clearly I am in the major leagues of hockey message boards here! lol

I would just like too add, that Myers will be RFA after next season, so management needs too keep that in mind with everything they do. He's hitting the cap for around a million now, but he figures to get a HUGE raise after next season. Anywhere from 4-6 million I'll wager.
Yes, and Ennis will also be an RFA at the same time.
We do have some pricey contracts that will be off the books by then, but they just have to be careful not to commit too much money.
It will certainly be an interesting situation since the current CBA is set to expire just a few months after they get their new contracts, so Darcy/whoever the GM is will have to correctly evaluate the situation and act accordingly or it has the potential to blow up in their face big time.
It's really kind of up in the air right now, but Donald "Igor" Fehr makes me worried.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Funky Monk View Post
does everyone think they'll keep hecht at center next year? he was very effective for us at LW last year, but it does create a logjam. honestly, if connolly took a pay cut, i wouldn't mind him staying here as a 3rd line center (assuming hecht is moved back to wing). he's a solid PK'er and is finally starting to show up.
Which winger would you want to give up then?
I think it'd be difficult to get rid of Hecht and there's no reason to dump any of our current LW's.

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03-28-2011, 12:59 PM
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Wow looking at that depth chart I am really pining for the team to sign Brad Richards to a 6/50 deal, along with resigning Connolly and Grier as the 13th forward. Maybe add a rugged d-man, but we have the potential to have 3 # 1 lines ala 05-06 if we can add Richards to a Roy/Connolly/Gaustad center core..
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03-28-2011, 01:16 PM
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So here's something in all of this -- is throwing a dumptruck full of cash at Brad Richards this summer REALLY the best way to build a Cup winning team? Stafford is up for a raise this summer and both Tylers will be ending their ELC's next year. Myers is a special player who could, if it goes to it, be in the running for some sort of ridiculous offers as an RFA.

Is it possible that signing Richards costs them one of their youngsters? I've beaten the Richards drum for some time prior to this season.... and now, with the dearth of available centers and the likelihood of market forces driving this deal up into true superstar levels, I have to pull back. If he's getting over $7.5 M per (even $6.5 M makes me quiesy), there is far too much money tied up there.

Is the only highlevel UFA option this summer really, really the best option overall? I have my doubts.

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03-28-2011, 01:38 PM
  #18
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Originally Posted by Chainshot View Post
So here's something in all of this -- is throwing a dumptruck full of cash at Brad Richards this summer REALLY the best way to build a Cup winning team? Stafford is up for a raise this summer and both Tylers will be ending their ELC's next year. Myers is a special player who could, if it goes to it, be in the running for some sort of ridiculous offers as an RFA.

Is it possible that signing Richards costs them one of their youngsters? I've beaten the Richards drum for some time prior to this season.... and now, with the dearth of available centers and the likelihood of market forces driving this deal up into true superstar levels, I have to pull back. If he's getting over $7.5 M per (even $6.5 M makes me quiesy), there is far too much money tied up there.

Is the only highlevel UFA option this summer really, really the best option overall? I have my doubts.
Say it with me Chain. Pavelski. Trade for Pavelski. At 4M, that should make you happy.

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03-28-2011, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Chainshot View Post
So here's something in all of this -- is throwing a dumptruck full of cash at Brad Richards this summer REALLY the best way to build a Cup winning team? Stafford is up for a raise this summer and both Tylers will be ending their ELC's next year. Myers is a special player who could, if it goes to it, be in the running for some sort of ridiculous offers as an RFA.

Is it possible that signing Richards costs them one of their youngsters? I've beaten the Richards drum for some time prior to this season.... and now, with the dearth of available centers and the likelihood of market forces driving this deal up into true superstar levels, I have to pull back. If he's getting over $7.5 M per (even $6.5 M makes me quiesy), there is far too much money tied up there.

Is the only highlevel UFA option this summer really, really the best option overall? I have my doubts.
Signing Richards to $7.5m is not an issue for next season, if all the other RFAs get reasonable contracts. Beyond that I expect Little Tyler to sign for <$3.8m (Giroux money) and big Tyler for <$5m (Hard to find comparables, let's see what Doughty gets). Subtracting their ELC that's a rise of max. 6.7$m. In that same year Hecht's $3.5m, Boyes' $4m, Gaustad's $2.3m and Morrisonn's $2m are off the books. Morrisonn's production can easily be replaced with one of their prospects. Hecht can be re-signed for $2m, Gaustad (or a similar player) for $1.5m and I don't expect Boyes to get re-signed unless Stafford or Pominville get traded. In any case potential $4m+ will be off the books and I expect that position (3rd line RW) getting filled by Kassian, Foligno or Adam (max. $.9m). Min. $11.8m out, max. $5.3m in. Difference is $6.5m. Assuming the cap rises slightly it's certainly doable with some tweaks here and there.

I think the year where Roy needs a new contract is where it gets iffy. If they're able to replace Leopold's production from within and potential RFA's don't get much of a pay raise, that shouldn't be an issue either. The year after that two major contracts (Vanek and Pominville) expire, so beyond that the cap shouldn't be much of a issue.

In any case, if they sign Richards the bottom 3 d-spots plus the extra dman will have to be extra cheap (Like $4-5m for all 4 players). Plus the best top-three-d combination they could afford is probably Myers/Sekera/Leopold.

So, in short, they could afford Richards, but can't afford overpaid bottom-6 players, their D is ultra young, inexperienced and basically filled with homegrown talent. So you have to hope that atleast two of Pysyk/McNabb/Schiestel/Brennan/Gragnani/(Crawford/Biega/MacKenzie/Persson) can be bottom-pairing players by 2012 and that Sekera/Weber/Butler can stay/progress to top-4-dmen.


Last edited by ct2111: 03-28-2011 at 02:03 PM.
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03-28-2011, 01:54 PM
  #20
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Devils advocate: What happens when Richards decides he's not coming here?

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03-28-2011, 02:04 PM
  #21
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Signing Richards to $7.5m is not an issue for next season, if all the other RFAs get reasonable contracts. Beyond that I expect Little Tyler to sign for <$3.8m (Giroux money) and big Tyler for <$5m (Hard to find comparables, let's see what Doughty gets). Subtracting their ELC that's a rise of max. 6.7$m. In that same year Hecht's $3.5m, Boyes' $4m, Gaustad's $2.3m and Morrisonn's $2m are off the books. Morrisonn's production can easily be replaced with one of their prospects. Hecht can be re-signed for $2m, Gaustad (or a similar player) for $1.5m and I don't expect Boyes to get re-signed unless Stafford or Pominville get traded. In any case potential $4m+ will be off the books and I expect that position (3rd line RW) getting filled by Kassian, Foligno or Adam (max. $.9m). Min. $11.8m out, max. $5.3m in. Difference is $6.5m. Assuming the cap rises slightly it's certainly doable with some tweaks here and there.

I think the year where Roy needs a new contract is where it gets iffy. If they're able to replace Leopold's production from within and potential RFA's don't get much of a pay raise, that shouldn't be an issue either. The year after that two major contracts (Vanek and Pominville) expire, so beyond that the cap shouldn't be much of a issue.

In any case, if they sign Richards the bottom 3 d-spots plus the extra dman will have to be extra cheap (Like $4-5m for all 4 players). Plus the best top-three-d combination they could afford is probably Myers/Sekera/Leopold.

So, in short, they could afford Richards, but can't afford overpaid bottom-6 players, their D is ultra young and inexperienced and basically filled with homegrown talent.
Is Richards a guy who comes to Buffalo for $7.5 million per year? And is Myers going to take less than $5 million per (if I'm his agent, I'd be interested in making Pegula keep his word about contracts... and shop for an offersheet)? I have doubts on both of those.

I like Richards -- it's a drum I've beaten for a long time and now that many are carrying that rhythm on... but I still wonder at what it is going to take to sign him and will he be worth it.

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03-28-2011, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Chainshot View Post
So here's something in all of this -- is throwing a dumptruck full of cash at Brad Richards this summer REALLY the best way to build a Cup winning team? Stafford is up for a raise this summer and both Tylers will be ending their ELC's next year. Myers is a special player who could, if it goes to it, be in the running for some sort of ridiculous offers as an RFA.

Is it possible that signing Richards costs them one of their youngsters? I've beaten the Richards drum for some time prior to this season.... and now, with the dearth of available centers and the likelihood of market forces driving this deal up into true superstar levels, I have to pull back. If he's getting over $7.5 M per (even $6.5 M makes me quiesy), there is far too much money tied up there.

Is the only highlevel UFA option this summer really, really the best option overall? I have my doubts.
I say go for it. The second half of this season has me convinced that they're not that far off from contending. Myers, Ennis, Gerbe, Weber, Butler, and Sekera will all have affordable contracts next season, and will hopefully continue improving. That won't last forever. You have to strike while your young, affordable players are exceeding their contracts.

And, as the poster above noted, the team has a lot of fairly hefty contracts coming off the books after next season in Boyes, Hecht, Morrisonn, and Gaustad. That's approximately $12m in cap hit. Some will be gone, and others will have their contracts adjusted to the market rate at the time. And, presumably, they'll have more ELC's entering the fold in Adam, Kassian, Foligno, Brennan, Schiestel, McNabb, et al., in 2013 and shortly thereafter. (Note: Obviously, not all will make it by then, but some should).

Richards costs money. These other guys like Pavelski will cost significant assets, which will thereby negate much of the upgrade that the acquired player brings. Richards is Pegula's best chance to win a Cup within three years. Go after him. Detroit, Pittsbugh, Chicago, and Philly all attempt to build a team that will compete for a Cup in the short-term, and then worry about the cap implications down the road. If management and ownership believe that adding Richards, in conjunction with the maturation of the younger players on the team, makes them a Cup contender, you go after Richards and deal with the cap issues as they arise.

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03-28-2011, 02:11 PM
  #23
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I doubt that Richards would actually sign here anyways, but signing Richards is high risk move imo. Hes getting older and is starting to have concussion problems. His contract would raise the possibility of losing one of our youngsters, and would make it very hard to make any other significant deals or signings for years. I know we need a center but I'm just not convinced this is the one to hitch our wagon to.

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03-28-2011, 02:13 PM
  #24
ct2111
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Is Richards a guy who comes to Buffalo for $7.5 million per year? And is Myers going to take less than $5 million per (if I'm his agent, I'd be interested in making Pegula keep his word about contracts... and shop for an offersheet)? I have doubts on both of those.

I like Richards -- it's a drum I've beaten for a long time and now that many are carrying that rhythm on... but I still wonder at what it is going to take to sign him and will he be worth it.
Yeah, of course a lot of it is hypothetical.

I think Doughty's contract is a good measurement on what Myers will get. I'd offer him .5-1m less. Right now it's kinda hard to find any comparable for him, maybe Shea Weber's current contract? I'm not opposed to giving him a 15-year-contract either...

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03-28-2011, 02:15 PM
  #25
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Devils advocate: What happens when Richards decides he's not coming here?
Well, yes, this is the most likely scenario.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chainshot View Post
Is Richards a guy who comes to Buffalo for $7.5 million per year? And is Myers going to take less than $5 million per (if I'm his agent, I'd be interested in making Pegula keep his word about contracts... and shop for an offersheet)? I have doubts on both of those.
I think a lot will come down to term with Richards. Ultimately, I think that $7.5 will be the approximate cap hit. I'm not sure any team will throw an eight-year offer at him, though. This has been discussed before, but if Buffalo comes with an offer of 8 yrs/$60m, with approximately $55m due over the first six years of the deal, Richards absolutely has to contemplate that deal. I see it as a win-win. Buffalo gets a much-needed upgrade at a top-6 center position, Richards gets a boatload of cash over the first six years of the deal, and Pegula gets the protection on the back end of the deal if Richards' skills decline and the organization wants to buy him out late in the deal.

Knowing how savvy Ted Black is, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if the sales pitch is already being prepared. If Buffalo can hold off NJ, Philly, and Washington for the best record in the Eastern Conference, post-January 1, Black should--and probably will--make sure it's driven home that Richards would be joining Derek Roy as additions to a team that had a great final 45 games of the season. And if they can win a round, or even two, that'll be even better.

Whether Richards bites is questionable. But Pegula has the resources and commitment to make a run.

And, as I said above, you worry about the cap problems as they arise. The team will still have tradeable commodoties like Stafford, Pominville, et al., if the need arises.

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