I can’t remember a time in recent years that Sabres fans have been so excited about July 1st, the first day of the NHL free agent market. The Sabres have been been burned in the past by the open market, most notably July 1, 2007 when the team lost co-captains Chris Drury and Daniel Briere. That was one of the worst days to be a Sabre fan, in my opinion. Now on July 1, 2011, the Sabres have a chance to sign the biggest name in this years market.
Brad Richard is the biggest fish in a shallow pond of unrestricted free agents this year. Many sources have said that Buffalo is one of the few teams that interests Richards. It’s unsure now how interested the Sabres are in signing him, I suppose we’ll all find out in the coming days or weeks. Signing him would be about 8 million a year and he wants a long term contract, which would put a dent in the salary cap but it would be worth it for a number one center. To be a power house in the NHL, a team needs a solid number one center and that could be Richards for Buffalo. The Sabres have a good second and fourth line center but the first and third is up for grabs.
Roy is a solid second liner and Gaustad being a fourthline guy with a killer face-off percentage. As for the third line, nobody is certain at this point who will fill that spot. Regier has said that he has been in contact with Tim Connolly’s agent regarding him resigning but he will be an UFA tomorrow. There are a few notably centers that will hit the open market, Eric Belanger is 33 and play for Phoenix last season and had a pretty good year, he would fit in well on the third line. Some others that popped out at me were Max Talbot, Tomas Fleischmann, and Mike Comrie. I know that Comrie has been hurt in the past but healthy he could be a solid third or fouth line guy. If that was the case Gaustad could be moved up to the third if need be. Steven Stamkos will also be a UFA tomorrow unless Tampa signs him to a deal tonight. He is going to want around 10 million a year. Not likely Sabre fans, but I thought I would throw his name in there, I know that whatever team gets him the fans will be elated!
As everyone has heard by now Christian Ehrhoff’s rights were traded to Buffalo yesturday in exchange for a fourth round pick from the New York Islanders. Regier talked to Ehrhoff this morning and Regier said that there is no time table for him to make a decision. Ehrhoff is home in Germany now so there is a bit of a time change so I would not expect a decision late tonight like we did with Robyn Regehr. And of course if he doesn’t sign tonight that doesn’t mean the Sabres are out of the running, it just means that other teams can offer him a contract.
Robyn Regehr was introduced to the Buffalo media today and was given his brand new Sabres jersey by superstar owner Terry Pegula. Regehr and his wife Christina are in town to look for a home during the season. He said that his wife is due in a month so it weighed heavy on them to waive the no trade clause, as we all thought. Regehr looked happy to be in Buffalo and created the talks of current and former Sabres to helping him make his decision, along with other factors of course. According to sources he has contacted Paul Gaustad to see about acquiring the number 28. Don’t go getting a number 24 Regehr jersey just yet. Gaustad might give up the number.