July 1, 2007 -- Fans of the Buffalo Sabres had been dreaded this day for months. When it finally arrived, their fears had become fully realized.
Daniel Briere and Chris Drury had been key parts of some excellent Sabre teams, but they became free agents once July 1 arrived. They both took advantage of the opportunity to sign rich contracts elsewhere.
Briere jumped to the Philadelphia Flyers; he signed an eight-year, $52-million contract. Later in the day, Drury signed a five-year, $35.25 million deal with the New York Rangers.
"They [the Sabres] had time," Briere said about the contract talks. "If they were interested in my services they would have come back in a couple weeks after the season at the latest. All the other teams do that. But when it got to three weeks I thought, "Maybe they have other things to do.' Four weeks? Five weeks? Six weeks? Then I knew they weren't interested."
The twin departures had repercussions for some time, as they put a hole in the Sabres' roster. However, it's interesting to see what the two players have done since leaving.
Briere has been solid with the Flyers, setting a career-high for goals with 33 in 2010-11. He also played a role in Philadelphia's playoff win over the Sabres last spring. Drury's statistics have spiraled downward with the Rangers, and New York bought out the last year of his contract.
--- Budd Bailey