Yesterday brought in a new regime and a new era in Buffalo through Terry Pegula as the new owner of the Sabres franchise. The fourth Sabres owner brought much excitement to Sabres fans as he said all the right things. Pegula brings much promise and said how he will not place any fiscal restraints to the team as the Sabres saw with the last owner.
This could very well be the best thing to happen to the Sabres organization since they were saved by Tom Golisano, when he purchased the team when they were bankrupt. It has been long overdue for Pegula to take over the team as his only goal in Buffalo is to win multiple Stanley Cups for the city.
With the trade deadline looming in just a couple days, on Monday February 28th, the Sabres could make many moves. The Sabres are just 5 points out of the playoffs with 3 games in hand against the Carolina Hurricanes. Pegula looks like he wants to make moves to have the Sabres not just make the playoffs but contend.
This morning, the Sabres released their captain, Craig Rivet, who has seen almost no ice time of late and has only played in just 23 of the teams 58 games this season. Rivet mobility became limited as his age caught up to him this season with the Sabres.
Rivet was also carrying a heavy contract of 3.5 million that was due to expire at the end of this season. With the trade deadline very close and a very excited owner who wants to win look for the Sabres to be active at the deadline.
If the Sabres are not active at the deadline look for them to be extremely active this offseason with key player’s contracts up at the end of the season. Rivet, Tim Connolly, Mike Grier, Rob Niedermayer, Cody McCormick, Steve Montador, and Patrick Lalime are due to become unrestricted free agents at the end of the season. The Sabres also have Drew Stafford, who is having a stellar season with four hat tricks, as a restricted free agent along with, Andrej Sekera, Nathan Gerbe, Chris Butler, and Mike Weber. The Sabres will have a lot of cap room to make moves this offseason having Connolly’s contract expiring at 4.5 million.
Pegula has made it known that he does not want to make trades just for making trades. They want to make trades to bring in players who they can keep, not just rentals. This is a more viable option for the long run as it won’t hurt the team to just give away prospects.
The Sabres, can quickly become contenders with the Penguins suffering from many injuries this season and many other teams. In last years playoffs we saw that the lower seeded teams in the Eastern Conference flourished with potentiall this season. With having one of the top goaltenders in the league in Ryan Miller the Sabres always have a chance to steal a series in the playoffs. Stay tuned this next week to see if the Sabres can make any moves before the NHL trade deadline.