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Now let’s look at the state of the homefront on Free Agent Eve.
John Wawrow is reporting that there are several scenarios that “intrigue” Sabres minority owner Larry Quinn, who wouldn’t go into details. So we can only speculate. And honestly, I have no idea what the hell what that means.
Is it intriguing to him that general manager Darcy Regier might replace Toni Lydman and Henrik Tallinder with Mike Weber and Marc-Andre Gragnani? Because I don’t see that as intriguing. I see that as a fire-able offense. I’ve said I don’t expect the Sabres to really do anything when it comes to free agency, especially right away, so maybe Quinn is looking at trade scenarios that will open up when cash-strapped teams truly look to start dumping salary.
It might be tough to see Lydman and Tallinder go if their replacements aren’t up to snuff. These are two players that we’ve both loved and hated over the last five years. I once said they had the potential to be one of the best pairings in the NHL. Looking back at how they played in 2005-06 and most of 2006-07, I don’t think that prediction was preposterous at all. They were so, so good in stretches, but Tallinder couldn’t stay healthy and Lydman couldn’t overcome that signature mental lapse every now and then.
I wish them well wherever they end up playing. Hopefully at least one of them comes back next season. If not, then, like I said, I hope that whoever takes their minutes makes them easy to forget.
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The Sabres will be looking for a true No. 1 center, a defenseman to quarterback the powerplay and a backup goalie. They may not address any of those concerns tomorrow and I wouldn’t freak out about that. The first day of free agency is for signings and the Sabres probably aren’t going to sign anyone besides a back-up goalie.
However, by the time things have cooled down by the middle of next week, I would start being very concerned if we don’t see and hear things from the front office that resemble progress. The Fourth of July holiday is traditionally a busy one for Regier. I hope we can get out of the weekend before the army of ALL CAPITAL LETTER screaming idiot fans carrying pitchforks and torches gather outside of HSBC Arena.
Another interesting story in that Wawrow article has to do with Cody McCormick. The tough winger had a pretty good season in Portland and impressed the hell out of a lot of people when he was called up for the Boston series. Apparently those people don’t work in the Sabres front office, who have “no interest” in McCormick. That’s a little unsettling.
That means it looks like either Adam Mair or Matt Ellis will be re-signed to play on the fourth line. The Sabres have always been very high on Ellis so expect them to make him an offer. Mair’s another guy I hope does well next season, but his time with the Sabres has come and gone.
Some quick predictions on the few big-name free agents. Keep in mind that these are just knee-jerk reactions.
Ilya Kovlachuk: Los Angeles
Evgeni Nabokov: Tampa Bay
Seregi Gonchar: Anaheim
Paul Kariya: New York Rangers
Maxim Afinogenov: St. Louis
Paul Martin: New Jersey
Teemu Selanne: Anaheim
Mike Modano: Minnesota (I can dream, right?)
Anton Volchenkov: Buffalo (Still dreaming)
Miroslav Satan: Hell (Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz)