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.
|Player||2008 cap hit|
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.