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
Mike Grier's deal with the Sabres could fall into the same category. Capgeek.com 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.