"For years, we were used to Buffalo not being overly high in the salaries, but still being competitive," Penguins winger Steve Sullivan said Friday. "Now, the new owner wants a winner and is going to try to spend to give themselves the best chance to win."
While upgrading the work environment can have a positive impact on any team, it's the enhanced payroll that is most promising for the Sabres.
With Pegula's blessing -- or perhaps insistence -- Buffalo's payroll is flirting with the league's salary-cap ceiling, reportedly coming in somewhere north of $64.2 million.
The Penguins are believed to be sitting about $1 million below that.
The Sabres overtook them by trading for Regehr ($4.02 million cap hit) and signing Ehrhoff ($4 million) and Leino ($4.5 million) as free agents just a few months after acquiring Boyes ($4 million) at the trade deadline.
While Boyes and Leino add offensive depth, Regehr and Ehrhoff are the marquee acquisitions.
Ehrhoff, the former Vancouver defenseman lured to Buffalo by a $10 year, $40 million contract, has good offensive skills and can quarterback a power play, while Regehr is a shutdown specialist with superb intangibles.
"You add those two defensemen to any hockey club, and they're going to make a difference," said Sullivan, who saw a lot of both while playing in Nashville.