Darcy Regier smiled. No, the general manager said, the Sabres are not out of salary cap room yet. They have room to remain players when NHL free agency starts at noon Friday.
The Sabres have signed defenseman Christian Ehrhoff to a 10-year, $40 million contract. Though Ehrhoff will make $18 million in the first two seasons of the deal and $37 million through the first seven, the cap hit is just $4 million for the life of the contract.
The Sabres will enter Friday's marketplace with about $10.5 million in cap space, including the summertime clause that allows teams to go 10 percent over the $64.3 million total. That leaves them with enough room to go after forwards, which Regier would like to do.
"Depending on what we do tomorrow it may affect our current lineup, but so far we still have room," Regier said tonight in HSBC Arena. "The focus tomorrow is we’ll see if we can do something up front. ... There’s a few roles upfront that we’d like to address if we can."
Regier is thrilled to add the offensive Ehrhoff to the blue line, which was bolstered by last week's acquisition of stay-at-home defenseman Robyn Regehr.
"The focus has been to start on our defense," Regier said. "We feel very strongly that the goaltending is there. We wanted to improve our defense. I think our defense is very good, it’s just young. I think if you’re going to go a long way in the playoffs, you have to have a lot of defensemen, as we have found out in past years, as other teams found out this year.
"It was the focal, and with Robyn Regehr and Christian Ehrhoff, it goes a long way to making our defense a very good NHL defense."
The full audio of Regier's news conference is below.