Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams stressed that he wants to sign a defenseman to pair with Owen Power. But is he interested in re-signing anyone?
The Buffalo Sabres have three veteran defensemen with expiring contracts in Will Butcher, Colin Miller, and Mark Pysyk. The clear-cut fan favorite to re-sign with the team is Pysyk, who logged 85 blocks this season in an otherwise no-frills approach to his game.
Pysyk’s salary won’t break the bank if the Sabres re-sign him. And while he isn’t the kind of defenseman Adams would want to pair up with Power, he provides valuable depth at little cost. He would make sense to keep around.
However, Will Butcher is another story. Butcher, along with Pysyk, Miller, and Robert Hagg, were four defensemen rumored to perhaps leave Buffalo before the trade deadline in March. Hagg ended up leaving, and Butcher stayed in a parttime role when he returned from injury.
Why re-signing Will Butcher would make no sense for the Buffalo Sabres
Butcher played in 37 games this season and did not produce consistently, despite his $4.1 million base salary. He showed flashes of brilliance, but his drastic underperformance this past season should make it a no-brainer for Adams to let him walk and continue his career elsewhere.
The Sabres currently have more cap space than the other 31 NHL teams, so you can expect them to re-sign a big money pending free agent or two. Victor Olofsson is the player that fans would love to see more than anyone else. And for good reason. The guy looked like an All-Star in the last three months of the year.
But don’t be surprised if Colin Miller also joins the discussion. Miller cost the Sabres $3.875 in base salaries this past season for just 38 games on the ice. However, he has given the team decent production throughout his time in Buffalo.
I would predict it makes more sense to re-sign Pysyk if Adams is looking to take the cost-effective route. But if he is looking for the better player, Miller is the obvious choice. It is also possible he lets them all go. But he cannot, under any circumstances, re-sign Will Butcher. It was a wasted season for the defenseman.
(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)