Several questions about the Buffalo Sabres blueline situation for the 2013-14 season may have been answered this morning, as Sabres general manager Darcy Regier held a press conference to update on the status of the draft, trades and free agency.
Kevin Oklobzija of the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle tweeted that defenseman Adam Pardy, who split the season between the AHL’s Rochester Americans and the Sabres, is expected to search for a one-way NHL contract as the free agent market opens Friday.
The Sabres will not offer Pardy a one-way contract, but would bring him back as a two-way defenseman if he’s unable to find a deal elsewhere and if he would be willing to return to the organization at that point.
Pardy had four assists and was a plus-4 in 17 games with the Sabres this season. He also had two goals and seven assists in 21 games with the AHL’s Americans. He brought a lot to both the Americans and the Sabres bluelines, and if brought back for a full season could make a real impact if given the opportunity.
Regier also said that Sabres defenseman Alexander Sulzer will hit the free agent market on Friday, although the Sabres may still try to re-sign him even after the market opens. He could return to Buffalo, but will likely see offers from other teams, as well.
Sulzer appeared in 17 games last season with the Sabres, struggling with a lower-body injury suffered in February. He had three goals, one assist and a plus-3 rating prior to being placed on injured reserve on February 26.
He was acquired by the Sabres in exchange for Marc-Andre Gragnani in February 2012.
The past 48 hours have brought quite a few changes to the Sabres blueline. Andrej Sekera was traded during the NHL draft, with Jamie McBain coming as part of the return from the Carolina Hurricanes, and now this news today about the impending departures of Alexander Sulzer and Adam Pardy.
Eleven defensemen played at least one game for the Sabres last season. With the departures of Jordan Leopold, Robyn Regehr, TJ Brennan and Andrej Sekera, and the looks of Sulzer and Pardy hitting free agency, that would mean 54 percent of last year’s defense corps would be gone.
As it stands right now, this leaves the Sabres defense with Christian Ehrhoff, Tyler Myers, Mark Pysyk, Mike Weber, Chad Ruhwedel and newcomer Jamie McBain. That’s assuming Pysyk has a spot to lose, McBain gets a regular spot, and no other movements or trades are made during the offseason.