Three teams have submitted their lists and three picks have been made. For the end of this week we will take a look at the Buffalo Sabres and their roster. Take it away KilkennyDan!
BUFFALO SABRES PROTECTION LIST
FORWARDS Jack Eichel - C - duh! Jeff Skinner - LW - We considered asking him to waive and somewhat doubt that Seattle would jump on his $9MM cap hit. Jeff would probably decline since he really likes being close to his hometown. After all, that's the reason he waived his NTC to come from Carolina. Tage Thompson - C - He has too much potential to be allowed to skate away for nothing. If he has added muscle to his large frame, (as pics suggest), then he may be ready to deliver. This is a high risk-reward choice since he could prove to be a pedestrian NHL'er or even a bust. But again, that potential. Rasmus Asplund - C - He's too young to let go. He probably has a ceiling as a 3C, but could also be very attractive to Seattle - even if to flip him. If we were to go with the 8-1 scheme, he'd be the first name dropped from our protected list. Casey Mittelstadt - C - Similar to Tage in several ways. He simply has too much potential to risk losing. Sam Reinhart - C - He may not be in the Sabres longer term plans, but he'd be an easy choice for the Kraken. Victor Olofsson - LW - Gotta keep this Swede with the wicked wrister
Both Eric Staal and Taylor Hall do not need to be protected. While both will be considered for extensions, Buffalo would hold off making any such moves official until after the e-draft.
Mittlestadt, Reinhart, and Olofsson are all RFA's now. I assume that all three will be signed to new contracts and will become draft eligible.
Rasmus Ristolainen - RD - He is exactly the type of player that every playoff team craves. Of course, the Sabres would crave being a playoff team. We're working on it! Rasmus Dahlin - LD - Duh II Henry Jokharju - RD - Too young and too good.
Linus Ullmark, fortunately Jonas Johansson extended and became draft eligible, and Ukko Pekka Luukkonen (a.k.a. 6K) won't be.
All in all, contract status for several players make this a less-than-painful prospect for Buffalo. Although they will lose someone that is better than who went to Vegas.
Thank you for the writeup!
I would love to just write down that I have successfully convinced Taylor Hall to sign here in free agency but alas I must remain impartial. Here are some players of interest from the Sabres.
Zemgus Girgensons: Consistency is the name of the game when it comes to Girgensons. A bottom six forward who puts up 7-12 goals on the regular. Signed for two years after this season at 2.2 million.
Cody Eakin: An Expansion Draft expert as he was selected by Vegas from the Dallas Stars a few years ago. His best season came during his second year with Vegas where he put up 22 goals on a SH% heater. Could be of interest depending on how his season in Buffalo progresses.
Colin Miller: Another Expansion veteran who saw his stock rise after being selected. Put up 41 points in his first season with Vegas and while his 29 points in 65 games the following year might seem like a big drop off, his ppg pace went from 0.5 to 0.44.
Brandon Montour: Another offensively skilled right shot defender. Montour logs big minutes for the Sabres at even strength. Has the misfortune of playing behind Ristolainen and Dahlin on the PP depth chart. Is a UFA at the end of this season.
If Brandon Montour is given a new contract by the Sabres, I likely would have selected him over Miller but going by the rules Miller is my pick. If given the chance, Miller has shown he can be a big point producer from the backend and likely could be the best PP option for the Kraken next season.
Tune in on Monday when we visit the Calgary Flames!