If the Buffalo Sabres are going to continue their busiest off season since the team was incepted in 1970 – at least since the expansion and salary cap era – they could be gearing up for a possible run at the best unrestricted free agent this year, Brad Richards, currently of the Dallas Stars, at least until Friday.
Talking to WGR this morning, his agent said Buffalo should pursue the free agent aggressively. While Richards will probably take the biggest deal he can, the rumors that he wants to play in New York and move back East are probably going to come true. There are three viable teams in the East that could make the pitch for the touted center.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Despite being a non-factor in the league for many years, the culture is changing North of the border, and as much as we all would like that to happen, there will come a point in time when the Leafs will start winning hockey games and end up in the post season.
New York Rangers
Always a team ready to spend whatever money they can, the Rangers are definitely going to be in on the July 1 sweepstakes – ready to take on whatever they can to bring glory back to the confines of MSG.
Why not – with the recent culture change and an urgency to win immediately, the Buffalo Sabres are starting to make moves in the right direction. New owner Terry Pegula has put a three year window on winning a Stanley Cup Champion, if you look at the Buffalo Sabres the way they are built right now, the core of this team will be on expiring contracts after that window – when rebuilding will have to begin, or continue.
Richards wants a fat long term contract – which all three of the aforementioned teams could offer. He also wants a winning team, and one with stable ownership. Buffalo fits into that category for the first time in 40 years.