Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sabres 2010-2011 Wish List

Everyone is doing it, so I might as well join.  This is my offseason wish list for next season.  Now look, this really isn't my thing and I'm not good at it, I'm just having some fun.

First of all, we can get rid of some guys without having to worry about complicated things like trades!
I would let Raffi Torres, Matt Ellis, Adam Mair, Henrik Tallinder, and Patrick Lalime walk.  I wanted to let Toni Lydman walk and sign Anton Volchenkov, but it just seems like that would be a downgrade.  Volchenkov played worse in the playoffs, puts up fewer points and battles injuries every season.

I would sign Mike Grier to a one year, $1M contract ($200k downgrade).
I would sign Patrick Kaleta to a three year, $800k per contract.
I would sign Cody McCormick to a two year $550k per contract.
I would sign Tim Kennedy to a two year, $750k per contract.
I would sign Lydman to a two year $3.2M per contract.

That leaves us with

Vanek ($6.4M) - Roy ($4M) - Stafford ($2.3M)
Pominville ($5.5M kill me) - Connolly ($4.5M) - Hecht ($3.5M)
Ennis ($875k) - Gaustad ($2.5M goddamnit) - Kennedy ($750k)
Grier ($1M) - McCormick ($550k) - Kaleta ($800k)

Myers ($875k) - ?????
Montador ($1.55M) - Lydman ($3.2M)
Butler ($585k) - Rivet ($3.5M)
Sekera ($1.25M)

Miller ($6.25M)
???????

As far as the cap is concerned that would put us at about $49M out of $56.8M giving us $7M for three roster spots depending on how you feel about Sekera on any given night.  Now, I'd rather shoot my left testicle with a paintball gun than bring all seven of Connolly, Roy, Gaustad, Stafford, Sekera, Butler, and Pominville back.  Pominville's contract probably makes him unmovable, so we're probably stuck with him.  Moving Roy, Connolly, Stafford, and Gaustad might not be out of the question.  The same goes for Sekera and Butler, but you have to ask yourself is there any potential for growth left?  Which leaves us with:

Vanek ($6.4M) - ????? - ?????
Pominville ($5.5M kill me) - ????? - Hecht ($3.5M)
Kennedy ($750k) - Ennis ($875k) - Grier ($1M)
????? - McCormick ($550k) - Kaleta ($800k)


Myers ($875k) - ?????
Montador ($1.55M) - Lydman ($3.2M)
????? - Rivet ($3.5M)

Butler ($585k)
Sekera ($1.25M)


Miller ($6.25M)

???????

Giving us about $20 M to fill 5-6 spots.  You really have to ask yourself what Tyler Ennis is ready for.  Part of me wants to put him on the second line between Pominville and Hecht, but he might not be there yet.


Fourth Line LW:
The first position I tried to fill was that fourth line left winger.  My top three choices would be:
Ben Eager - 26 years -  7-9-16, -9, $965k
Eric Nystrom - 27 years - 11-8-19, even, $775,000
Brad Winchester - 29 years - 3-5-8, +3, $800k

With Eager and Nystrom probably more third liners, and both probably returning to their teams, my choice is Brad Winchester.  at 6-5, 228 pounds and logging ten fights last season, he is the big bruiser you want beating the piss out of people that run Kaleta.  I think we could offer Winchester a contract for not much more than he makes now.  Let's say $850k.

Backup Goaltender:
The next position I took a shot at was backup goaltender.  I pretty much agree with Phil over at BBG  that Hedberg, Budaj, and Biron are the best choices:
Martin Biron - .896 sv, 3.27 GAA (9-14-4) - $1.4M
Johan Hedberg - .915 sv, 2.62 GAA (21-16-6) - $1.175M
Peter Budaj - .917 sv, 2.64 GAA (5-5-2) - $1.25M

I know a lot of Buffalonians would like to see Marty back, and I count myself among them.  Personally I think that Marty still has quite a bit left in the tank, and his stats on a pretty pathetic Isles team are a bit misleading.  What I don't know is how willing he would be to come back, and take a pay cut.  I don't like getting into the $1.5M-$2M range for a backup goaltender, especially one that might ride the pine a lot to Ryan Miller.  No one saw significantly more shots on goal per game than anyone else so the stats are what they are.

I hesitate on Hedberg because of his age, though he might be the most likely to accept a backup role.  He actually had a career year last year at age 37.  That's the kind of thing that doesn't happen twice.  I'd pass on him.

That leaves Budaj.  Now I know I've expressed some distaste for him, but the more I think about it, the more I like the idea.  He's been pretty consistent and he played for a Colorado team that had to rely on its goalies often to win games last season.  Sound familiar?  It's seriously a coin flip between those two.  Marty has the x-factor, the love of the area, and he'll piss me off less if he blows a game, so he gets the nod.  Hopefully a one year $1.2M contract isn't asking too much of him?


First and Second/Third Pairing Defenseman:
On to those two defensive spots.  Once again we have to deal with the dreaded P-word.  Potential.  Will Andrej Sekera and Chris Butler meet theirs, or are we wasting time?  Lindy Ruff pretty much played musical suck with them all season, and while Butler got more games, Sekera had the better year.  God damnit I miss Nathan Paetsch who was NEVER a minus player (unless you count the year he only played one game).  So what do you do?  I say flip a coin, trade one, keep the other on as a seventh defenseman, hope they improve their game, and fill that spot with someone who doesn't make you cry.  Let's say that Butler suffered a simple sophomore slump and Craig Rivet not being 100% all year hurt his play more than we think, and Sekera leaves.  He's probably the more attractive player to trade anyways.  With the Winchester and Biron signings that leaves $19M to fill two defensive spots, and a first line C, RW, and second line C.  Ouch.

My Top four guys for those two defenseman spots are as follows.
Sergei Gonchar - minus 4 - $5.5M
Paul Martin (coming off injury) - plus 10, $4.5M
Zybnek Michalek - plus 5, $1.5M
Dennis Seidenberg - plus 6, $2.25M

I like the idea of signing Michalek and Martin a lot.  Question is, can we match what Phoenix will offer Michalek.  I have no god damn clue.  Let's say we sign Michalek at $2.5M per, and Martin at  $5.5M per.  That leaves us with $11M (roughly) to fill three spots on the top two lines that I probably should have thought about first.


First Line RW:
I don't really know anything about trades so I don't want to go into great detail there, we'll just say that somehow we wind up with Patrick Sharp at $4.2M to play top line right wing.  That pretty much makes it all but impossible to wind up with Patrick Marleau and fill the second line center spot unless Ennis is up to that challenge.  It's a lot easier to fill a third line center spot than it is a second line center spot.  Either way it's not necessarily a bad thing as no one disappears in the playoffs like Patrick Marleau.

First and Second Line C:
That leaves $6.8M to fill two center spots.  Not exactly great, especially considering that Marleau is the only knockout first line center available.  So you can do one of a few things.  You could keep either Connolly or Roy, OR let Lydman walk, pray to god Butler doesn't suck and Weber is a capable 7th defenseman, which saves you around $2.5M and gives you an opportunity to sign a Marleau ($7M), and Alexander Steen ($2.3M) to play first and second line center respectively and hope to Christ that just like Peyton Manning, they have to have a clutch postseason eventually. So let's do that, which would give us:


Vanek ($6.4M) - Marleau ($7M) - Sharp ($4.2M)
Pominville ($5.5M) - Steen ($2.3M) - Hecht ($3.5M)
Kennedy ($750k) - Ennis ($875k) - Grier ($1M)
Winchester (850K) - McCormick ($550k) - Kaleta ($800k)


Myers ($875k) - Martin ($5.5M)
Michalek ($2.5M) - Montador ($1.55M)
Butler ($575k) - Rivet ($3.5M)
Weber ($563.8k)

Miller ($6.25M)
Biron ($1.2M)

Grand total of $56,238,800 in salary doled out to the above players and a pretty good team on the ice to boot.  Will it happen?  Probably not.  A couple of the moves stand a good chance, Sharp, Martin and maybe Michalek.

Just my thoughts and fun playing around with salaries and potential openings.  Enjoy.

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