While the NHL Draft takes precedent in early July, free agency closely follows. Today, we will discuss the five worst free agents in Buffalo Sabres history.
The salary cap era officially began in the NHL in the 2005-06 season and in that time frame, we have seen the Buffalo Sabres whiff on some big name free agents. Or at least players they brought in thinking would fare well for the blue and gold.
While we can name far more than five free agent flops that fit the bill, none stand out more than those we are about to list below. So who are the five worst free agent signings in Buffalo Sabres history during the salary cap era? Keep reading to find out.
Worst free agents in Buffalo Sabres history: Free agent #1 – Matt Moulson
Moulson emerged as a productive player for the New York Islanders between 2009-10 and 2013, prompting the Sabres to acquire him in the Thomas Vanek trade in October 2013. Then on March 5th, 2014, the Sabres traded him to the Minnesota Wild. He then swung back around to Buffalo on July 1st, 2014, signing a five-year contract with the team.
While the winger looked good in his 44-game sample size with the Sabres in late 2013-14 with 29 points, it was the high water mark for Moulson. In 2014-15, he scored a respectable 41 points (13 goals), but his shooting percentage dropped to a career low 8.3 percent.
Moulson returned in 2015-16 and played in 81 games, but he set a new career low with a shooting percentage of 7.2 percent while amassing just 21 points (eight goals). Things didn’t get better for Moulson the following season as he scored a dismal 32 points.
You may look at the above stats and say they weren’t half-bad compared to some other players in the era. On paper, that may be true, despite the low shooting percentage. Problem was, the Sabres were paying Moulson $5 million per year before they got rid of him in 2017. Overall, Moulson scored 94 points in 253 games with the Sabres following his long-term deal.