The Sabres Observer
by @DaveDavisHockey on 06/27/14 at 09:35 AM ET
While most of tonight's focus for Sabres fans will be on Buffalo's likely selection of Sam Reinhart with the second overall pick, there will be a whole lot more going on as GM Tim Murray attempts to really start putting his imprint on this underskilled roster.
One thing that's certain is that Murray is pushing hard for trades that bring in other teams' unwanted overpaid players along with picks and/or prospects.
It makes the most sense to leverage every dollar possible to acquire long-term assets. Don't give anything up that will only make you better this season.
Put another way, Murray needs to treat tonight, and this entire summer for that matter, like a last-place team on trade deadline day.
Of all the moves that can be made this offseason, signing aging free agents -- for the sole purpose of reaching the salary cap floor -- makes the least sense. We're talking about a team that's out of contention for the Stanley Cup this season before it even starts, and the abundance of cap space gives them better options.
Who are the potential dance partners for deals to take on salaries? Chicago, Montreal, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Vancouver and the Rangers have used up their compliance buyouts. Los Angeles and Boston are tight against the cap. There are candidates on most of those rosters, although no-movement clauses will make things more difficult.
Hypothetically, trading for Boston's Chris Kelly and a draft pick would make more sense than signing Brooks Orpik. You could argue that Orpik would be good for the dressing room and could be flipped to another team during the season, but I'd rather have the pick in the bank than risk having an older player being injured and Buffalo getting nothing for him (remember the Matt Moulson close call?)
Assuming the Sabres sign RFA's Ennis, Foligno, Conacher and Ruhwedel, they'll need to add approximately $7 million more to the 2014-15 payroll.
The good news is, if a few good salary-consuming deals to add picks and prospects are out there, Buffalo has an owner who won't blink at spending more -- as much as necessary to keep the rebuilding wheels in motion.
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About The Sabres Observer
Dave Davis has covered the Buffalo Sabres for various NHL accredited websites and newspapers since 2003. He was the senior writer and Sabres correspondent for The Fourth Period, covered hockey for Western New York Sports and Leisure Magazine, and has had articles featured on NHL.com, FOX Sports, Yahoo Sports and in New York Sportscene. Sabres news and notes can be found on his Twitter page.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: [@DaveDavisHockey]