Kukla's Korner Hockey
from News Wire Services via the Buffalo News,
A television station reported Wednesday night that the Buffalo Sabres have begun negotiations with co-captains Daniel Briere and Chris Drury, both of whom are due to become unrestricted free agents at 12:01 p.m. on Sunday.
The Sabres made Briere an offer late Wednesday evening, Buffalo’s WGRZ-TV reported. It’s not clear what the offer is for a player seeking a minimum four-year deal, and expected to command a $6 million-a-year salary.
Briere finished 10th in the NHL with a career-high 95 points (32 goals, 63 assists).
Briere’s agent Pat Brisson declined comment.
from the AP via ESPN,
Dainius Zubrus anticipates becoming a free agent this weekend, a move that would end the veteran forward’s brief stint with the Buffalo Sabres.
“That’s certainly the direction it looks like it’s headed,” his agent, Jerrold Colton said Wednesday.
With the NHL’s free agency period starting at noon Sunday, Colton declined to say whether he’s had any talks with the Sabres.
“Certainly, these things can get done if both sides are motivated,” Colton said. “But at this point, we’re anticipating that Dainius will hit the market.”
from Jim Kelley at Sportsnet,
Maybe it’s a tribute to the Sabres that they have what are universally considered the top two soon-to-be unrestricted free agents in the game -Chris Drury and Daniel Briere and the most coveted restricted free agent -Thomas Vanek (with centre Derek Roy a close second) heading to market, but the view from here is that that’s not exactly a good thing. The Sabres absolutely refused to discuss contract extensions with their key players during the season claiming it was “club policy.”
Really? Since when? The Sabres twice extended Dominik Hasek’s contract when he was the premier goaltender in the NHL and playing in Buffalo.
much more from Jim…
from the Buffalo News,
The Sabres continued their tightlipped policy.
“I think that the less said the better right now, and we’ll go from there,” managing partner Larry Quinn said.
Briere is said to have received only one brief phone call. Drury’s agent, Mark Witkin, declined to update his client’s status. The Sabres’ exclusive negotiating rights to both players are set to expire. The other 29 teams can extend contract offers at one minute past noon Sunday.
Drury may have a chance to go back to where his career started if the Sabres maintain their current negotiating pace. An industry source said Tuesday the Colorado Avalanche is expected to bid for their third-round pick in the 1994 draft. Drury won the Stanley Cup…
from the AP via the Hockey News,
Without ruling out the possibility of re-signing with Buffalo, Briere’s agent, Pat Brisson, said Saturday the chances are increasing that his client will test the market once NHL free agency opens July 1.
“It’s different now,” Brisson said, noting this is Briere’s first opportunity to be an unrestricted free agent. “We’ll see. It’s getting closer and closer.”
Brisson, however, noted he’s still open to getting a deal done with Buffalo.
“We haven’t ruled out anything,” he said. “We’re continuing to talk. We’re very open-minded.”
from the AP via the Globe and Mail,
Center Derek Roy was one of five players retained by the Buffalo Sabres after they were issued qualifying offers.
The moves, announced Wednesday, marked the first step by the Sabres to re-sign their restricted free agents. Players have the right to accept the one-year offers or negotiate new deals.
Also issued offers were forwards Daniel Paille, Andrew Peters and defenseman Nathan Paetsch.
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
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. It’s too much for a team that was 16-7-3 without Afinogenov, 9-6-2 without Spacek and 7-4-1 without both.
My money’s 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 doesn’t 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.
from the AP via Sports Illustrated,
The Sabres retained the rights to forward Thomas Vanek by issuing a qualifying offer to their leading goal scorer.
It will take more than a one-year, $942,000 deal—the offer matching Vanek’s salary last season—to keep him playing in Buffalo.
The move, announced by Vanek’s agent, Stephen Bartlett, on Tuesday, is considered only the first step for the Sabres, who are expected to attempt negotiating a long-term contract with Vanek to prevent other teams from luring him away.
from the Buffalo News,
After sitting through the rough times, the Sabres’ coach and general manager had no plans to leave with the franchise peaking. They finally made it official this morning with a news conference in HSBC Arena.
Ruff, who is up for NHL coach of the year tonight, agreed to a three-year deal with an option for a fourth season. Regier, who took over as GM in 1997 and hired Ruff later that summer, signed a two-year contract. Sabres managing partner Larry Quinn did not give salaries, but he said both signed for below their market value to stay in Buffalo.
“We obviously went through some real tough times,” said Ruff, who coached during a franchise-high three-year stretch without a playoff appearance that ended last season. “We’ve got the team to a level of play that is very exciting….”
from the AP via TSN,
Sabres coach Lindy Ruff and general manager Darcy Regier have agreed to new contracts, allowing Buffalo to retain the architects of a team coming off consecutive Eastern Conference finals appearances.
The deals will be announced later this week, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Tuesday. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Sabres have not yet announced the signings.
continued... no shock here, this has been known for weeks…
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