With a little distance from the Sabres’ playoff elimination, it’s time to look at what players are must-keep for next year, and who can go. Things are changed, with the Pegula era entering it’s first offseason. We don’t know how trades are going to go, if he wants an RFA, whether he truly likes Derek Roy or not, and so on.
The Buffalo Sabres currently only have 12 players under contract for next year (not counting AHLers and draft picks). 8 forwards, 3 D, 1 goalie. Stafford, Gerbe, Sekera, Butler, Weber, Gragnani, and Enroth are all RFAs. Normally, I’d imagine all would at least be qualified but a move to clear out a D or two for a veteran wouldn’t be out of the question. Anyway, I’m including these guys in my list as far as potential untouchables go:
- Ryan Miller – You can win several different ways, as the playoffs are showing. You can have a franchise goalie (Vancouver), or a cast of thousands (Philly). You can lose both ways too. Miller gives stability, and the return of Enroth would finally give us a tandem to feel comfortable about going into next season.
- Tyler Myers – Big, scoring defensemen who can defend are rare, so keeping the Big Easy is a no-brainer. If the physical play he had for the playoffs continues to play out next year, watch out. Now lets get him a partner.
- Thomas Vanek – Still the best scorer the Sabres have, Vanek has shown more and more leadership potential each year. A far cry from the guy getting sat down in his first playoffs. His serious demeanor on and off the ice just seems to keep the team at an even keel. Needs a center.
There are a whole mess of guys on the next tier, guys I want to keep, but I’d let them go if there was a deal to be made. You’ve got to give talent to get talent. Is there anyone else who HAS to stay?