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Organizational makeovers begin now for NHL teams

By John Vogl

With the on-ice action over, the off-ice games can begin in the NHL.

The buyout window is open and will be until June 30. Plenty of teams will part ways with their overpriced players and cap-crunching contracts. That includes, of course, the Buffalo Sabres, who are expected to end the catastrophically bad Ville Leino era. The Rangers' Brad Richards is also high on the buyout list.

Colorado has reportedly elected to take Ryan O'Reilly to club-elected salary arbitration, while Winnipeg has chosen to do the same with Michael Frolik.

The NHL Awards Show will be held June 24 in Las Vegas. The candidates (and a poll) are available here.

Teams can begin courting pending free agents June 25, with visits and chats allowed through June 30. The free-agency signing period begins July 1. The Sabres are not expected to go after the top players on the market and instead will search for second- and third-line players who are hoping to show they can play on a first line.

The NHL Draft will be held June 27-28 in Philadelphia. The Buffalo News' "Road to the NHL Draft," with profiles of 30 players in 30 days, began May 28.

Trade talk is certain to be plentiful through all those events, making the off-ice action almost as interesting as the overtime-filled playoffs.

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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 |