Tim Connolly and Cody McCormick are in a select club. Of the Buffalo Sabres’ eight unrestricted free agents, it appears those are the only two the team could try to keep this week.
The free agent market opens at noon Friday, and Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier said he plans to talk to the agents for both forwards.
"We’ll continue talking," Regier said today. "I’ll have a conversation with Cody McCormick’s agent, with Tim Connolly’s agent, and we’ll see where it goes from there."
The Sabres’ unrestricted list also includes forwards Mike Grier, Rob Niedermayer, Mark Mancari and Matt Ellis, defenseman Steve Montador and goaltender Patrick Lalime. Regier said he’s talked with Montador’s agent only in passing. Grier will be re-examined after the first wave of signings.
Regier said the Sabres intend to be active Friday.
"We’re hopeful that we’ll be able to add," he said. "We’d like to add both forwards and defensemen, but we’ll have to see how it goes."
The Sabres having taken the first step in retaining their restricted free agents, extending qualifying offers to eight of the nine (only forward Felix Schutz, who returned to Germany last season, was let go). The eight, who qualify for a 10 percent raise but can still renegotiate, are goaltender Jhonas Enroth, defensemen Mike Weber, Andrej Sekera, Marc-Andre Gragnani and Dennis Persson, and forwards Nathan Gerbe, Travis Turnbull and Dennis McCauley.
Gerbe, Weber, Sekera and Gragnani have arbitration rights.