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So close, so far

   The Hockey News debunks the claims by three teams, including the Buffalo Sabres, that they
are close to being playoff teams because they just missed the postseason last year.

   The primary argument is that the Sabres, Wild and Panthers beat disinterested teams that
had already clinched playoff berths late in the season to make the playoff race appear closer
than it was.

   In an unrelated manner, Darcy Regier's statement in late July that teams trying to move
players under contract would have a hard time finding a fit for a trading partner appears as
if it wasn't far off the mark.

   There has been a dearth of trades, which is bad news for fans hoping the Sabres would deal
a veteran defenseman.

   Another trend is that remaining free agents find themselves in the bargain bin, with most
getting only one-year deals. An example is Vinny Prospal, who recently agreed to a $1.1 million, one-year deal with the New York Rangers that is only $100,000 more than the annual salary Colton Orr got from the
Maple Leafs early in the signing period. Prospal is only one season removed from scoring
33 goals.

   Mike Grier's deal with the Sabres could fall into the same category. reports
it's for $1.2 million for one year, considerably less than the $5.2 million for three years he
got from the Sharks when he left Buffalo after the 2005-06 season.

   Still available are veteran players such as Alex Tanguay, Mike Comrie, Todd Bertuzzi and
Marc-Andre Bergeron but there are few teams with roster space and cap room.

Update: Bertuzzi signed for a second stint with the Detroit Red Wings for one year for a reported $1.5 million.


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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl |

About Sabres Edge

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz |