Friday, August 1, 2008

How Sabres management imporved the team by allowing players to walk

The Buffalo Sabres have gotten a lot of criticism for allowing alot of their star players to leave town, notably Chris Drury, Daniel Briere, Brian Campbell, Jay McKee, and JP Dumont. While I would love to have Drury and Dumont back, it is important to remember why the team let Dumont walk in the first place. If the Sabres had signed JP they would have been over the cap. If the Sabres had signed all of these players they would have been well over the cap.

As a starting point I looked at the roster of the famed 2005-2006 team that did so well in the first season after the lockout. If Buffalo had resigned all of those players the cap hit for this season would be $73.846 million which is an astounding $17.146 million over the cap. The team that year consisted of Maxim Afinogenov, Chris Drury, Ales Kotalik, Daniel Briere, Tim Connolly, Thomas Vanek, Derek Roy, Brian Campbell, Jochen Hecht, J.P. Dumont, Teppo Numminen, Jason Pominville, Paul Gaustad, Mike Grier, Henrik Tallinder, Dmitri Kalinin, Toni Lydman, Jay McKee, Rory Fitzpatrick, Ryan Miller, and Martin Biron. This 21 man roster consists of all the players who had over 45 games played and the two starting goalies. Left off are Taylor Pyatt and Adam Mair, who played in 41 and 40 games, as well Andrew Peters who had 28 games, and goalie Mika Noronen who had four starts before being traded mid-season. However these extra players are still making close to the NHL minimum and would only have a small effect to the numbers.
Player2008 cap hit
Thomas Vanek$7.143
Brian Campbell$7.1
Chris Drury$7.05
Daniel Briere$6.5
Derek Roy$4
J.P. Dumont$4
Jay McKee$4
Jochen Hecht$3.525
Martin Biron$3.5
Maxim Afinogenov$3.333
Tim Connolly$2.9
Toni Lydman$2.875
Ryan Miller$2.667
Teppo Numminen*$2.6*
Henrik Tallinder$2.562
Ales Kotalik$2.333
Paul Gaustad$2.3
Dmitri Kalinin$2.1
Mike Grier$1.775
Jason Pominville$1.033
Rory Fitzpatrick*$0.55*
*2007 cap hits are used for Numminen (who is unsigned) and Fitzpatrick (whos cap hit for Florida can not be found)

Furthermore, besides being well over the cap and needing to trade away over $17 million worth of salaries for this season. This would also not make room for players such as Daniel Paille who only a bit player at this point, and Drew Stafford, and Patrick Kaleta who both had yet to play their first NHL game. Now looking back, with the notable exception of Chris Drury it would not have done the team any good to sign any of these players. Furthermore Miller is due an $4 million raise next season, and Pominville is likely to get the same. Yet only the salary for Numminen shows any possibility of going down (and even then it can not drop by more than $2 million).

So please stop complaining whenever Buffalo's management allows a player to walk. From this line up you could replace Dumont, McKee, Biron, Numminen, Afinogenov, and Connolly, all with players making the NHL minimum and you would still be over the cap. I think our current team is a huge improvement over that.


Andrew said...

I partially agree, but Briere and Campbell were willing to take less money to stay here so that salary total would not have been as high. Plus signing Connolly and Afinigenov to the deals they did was way out of line.

Ebscer said...

Campbell was not willing to take less money. If he had been, he would have signed here.

jim said...

Can you do us all a favor and post this all over the internet. And fax copies direct to all of the hockey "experts" including WGR. The fact of the matter is Buffalo has done a wonderful job scouting (Briere cleared waivers) and developing (Campbell 7th round selection only 2 seasons removed from being a healthy scratch), and therefore need to cut loose talented players when the $ gets too high. I would put our current crop of youngins (Gerbe, Sekera, Webber, the 2 Tylers etc.)against prospects from any other squad.