The Vegas Golden Knights winning their first Stanley Cup on Tuesday means the rest of the National Hockey League can spring into action and start making moves for next season.
What. a. fake. by Owen Power.
Victor Olofsson ties the game. pic.twitter.com/rZm8pT2XZs
— The Charging Buffalo (@TheChargingBUF) November 3, 2022
Buyouts and Qualifying Offers
The league’s buyout window opens up on Friday and lasts until June 30, just before the start of free agency. Clubs have to submit qualifying offers to restricted free agents or else they hit the open market on July 1 and trade talks that may have been only cursory while the playoffs were going on now become serious.
For the Buffalo Sabres, it is possible that they buy out the last year of Eric Comrie’s contract to save $1.2 million on the cap next season, but they could choose to send the 27-year-old to Rochester and save almost the same amount of cap space by burying him in the minors. Tyson Jost and Kyle Clague are restricted free agents with arbitration rights, but a qualifying offer for Jost would be $2.25 million, and for Clague would be $787,500.
The trade option at this point is focused on winger Victor Olofsson, who scored 28 goals last season and will make $4.75 million before becoming an unrestricted free agent after next season. Lance Lysowski of the Buffalo News reported earlier this week that the 27-year-old winger and his representatives are expecting him to be traded by the Sabres this summer. With Buffalo deep at forward and unlikely to re-sign him after next year, GM Kevyn Adams may be exploring options to move Olofsson for a defenseman or goalie with a similar short-term remaining.
Lysowski speculated that Vegas could be a potential destination for Olofsson, based on his goal-scoring prowess with Jack Eichel in Buffalo. That is a possibility but Vegas has limited cap space and is thought to be making a bid to retain pending UFA Ivan Barbashev after an impressive playoff showing.
It is likely that GM Kevyn Adams will be looking for help on defense or in goal instead of draft picks for Olofsson unless he has a deal where he could acquire futures and flip them to another club for a player. The Sabres may have to wait for the free-agent market to sort itself out to get the best return. Scoring wingers like Ottawa’s Alex DeBrincat and New Jersey’s Jesper Bratt could be on the move with high qualifying offers and no sign of contract extensions on the horizon. Olofsson’s attractive quality is his salary is locked in and his ability as a proven goal scorer is without question.
— Maple Leafs Hotstove (@LeafsNews) September 22, 2019