Sabres Could Be in Hunt for Richards

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. 

Buffalo Sabres

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.

Tags: Brad Richards Buffalo Sabres Free Agency New York Rangers Toronto Maple Leafs

  • lonewolf3388

    Hi Tim. Seems to me like they’re going to have trouble signing Richards AND Ehrhoff if you’ve only got $11 mill for 7 more players. What’s your feeling on Drury? Personally I don’t think I’d want him. He walked on you once without even trying to re-sign and has done nothing since going to NY. Phil in Cleveland

    • Chris Elardo

      If the team is serious about Richards, they are going to have to move some salary out eventually. It wouldn’t have to be done right away, but definitely before the season starts. Teams can be over the cap by 10% during the off-season, so the Sabres could theoretically sign Richards and their own RFA’s, and be over the cap by $6.4 million until next season. They could then go various ways. Move out a couple roster players for some cheaper players, cheaper assets or picks/prospects. Bury a couple contracts in the AHL(kotalik and Morrisonn come to mind and combined they are @ $5 million), or a combination of both.

      • lonewolf3388

        I see that I don’t understand all there is to know about thye salary cap. I was in your town today and listening to WGR where they were saying the Sabres had ample cap space to go after Richards AFTER signing Ehrhoff so they have ways that I haven’t mastered (which is why I’m a fan and not a GM). BTW.. I personally like the Leino signing. He’s not Richards but he’s also not a $10 mill cap hit. I’m glad to see the Sabres mean business. Phil in Cleveland

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  • Tim Redinger

    I think I have put it on the record – but I don’t hate the idea of Drury coming back to Buffalo – but he’s not cracking the top six. If he wants to come play the pivot for the third or fourth line, or in special situations and do it at a discount, maybe.

    Given the condition with his knee, I think the Sabres would be better served to let that option pass. Given the other moves the Sabres are making (Regehr, Richards sweepstakes, Erhoff) I don’t think the Drury conversation is even in the cards.