The Buffalo Sabres made a pair of significant defensive signings on July 1 in Erik Johnson and Connor Clifton, but have been silent since the opening day of free agency. GM Kevyn Adams hinted at the opening of Development Camp last week that he is still open to making a trade (there remains a possibility that he will deal winger Victor Olofsson over the summer or one of their excess blueliners), but it remains unclear whether the Sabres are still open to adding another free-agent forward or a goaltender.
“Free agency is a time where you want to round out your team and add to your team, as long as you’re doing it responsibly. But you have to be really careful trying to build your team that way and that’s why I always come back to drafting, developing, and retaining your players. I think he can make some massive mistakes on July 1,” Adams said. “We also will continue to have conversations and what often happens in free agency time is it’s a busy couple of days, the dust settles, and everybody kind of catches their breath a little bit and then maybe there are teams that didn’t exactly end up where they wanted, to where they need something, and then conversations start.”
Although there is no expectation that the Sabres will be in on the big names still unsigned in free agency (Patrick Kane, Vladimir Tarasenko, Matt Dumba), it is still possible that Adams is open to bringing in someone over the next few weeks if they are willing to take a one-year deal at close to league minimum to address an area of need.
Five Possible Options
1. Martin Jones (Goaltender) – The 33-year-old went 27-13-3 in 48 starts with Seattle last season and would provide a more stable tandem partner for Buffalo than the inconsistent Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen.
2. Oskar Sundqvist (Winger/Center) – The 29-year-old split time between Detroit and Minnesota last season and has size and playoff experience (won the Cup with St. Louis in 2019) that the Sabres lack.
3. Maxime Comtois (Left Wing) – Only 24, Comtois was not qualified by one of the league’s bottom dwellers, but might be hungry enough to take a one-year deal to prove himself.
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4. Filip Zadina (Left Wing) – Another roll of the dice, Zadina bet on himself by wanting to terminate the two remaining years and $4.56 million in guaranteed money with Detroit. The 23-year-old may want to put him into the best position to succeed and the Sabres could be that.
5. Austin Watson (Winger) – Big bruising winger with eight years of NHL experience who played three seasons in the Atlantic Division with Ottawa.