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Buffalo Sabres

Will The Sabres Qualify Jost?; Looking For New ECHL Affiliate

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The Buffalo Sabres do not have many free-agent dilemmas this summer, with center Tyson Jost and defenseman Kyle Clague as arbitration-eligible restricted free agents and veteran forwards Zemgus Girgensons and Vinnie Hinostroza slated to hit the open market on July 1.

The Sabres have to submit qualifying offers to Jost and Clague before 5 pm on June 30 to retain their rights and schedule salary arbitration later in the summer, but if they choose not to, the pair will become unrestricted free agents. Clague had four assists in 33 games for the Sabres last season and his qualifying offer is slightly over the veteran minimum at $787,500, but Jost would require an offer of $2.25 million.

The 25-year-old was selected 10th overall by Colorado at the 2016 NHL Draft in Buffalo and spent six seasons with Avalanche before being traded to Minnesota in March 2022. Jost had 22 points (7 goals, 15 assists) in 59 games with Buffalo after being claimed off of waivers from the Wild, playing primarily in the bottom six.

The Sabres are fully capable of keeping Jost in the fold one year away from unrestricted free agency if they want to, with nearly $17 million of available cap space, but GM Kevyn Adams might be able to bring back Girgensons and Hinostroza for around the same amount and promote a youngster from Rochester like Lukas Rousek (who scored 56 points with the Americans last season) to play a third or fourth line role.

 

Leaving Cincinnati

The Sabres will have a new ECHL affiliate next season. The Buffalo News reported on Thursday that the club and the Cincinnati Cyclones have mutually agreed to not extend their affiliate agreement.ย  Buffalo and Cincinnati had been linked since 2017 when the Sabres ECHL affiliate in Elmira, NY ceased operations. The report indicated that Buffalo is in talks with another ECHL team and that a new agreement will be announced sometime this summer.

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