Okay, the initial burst of free agency is over, and while we’re all still holding our breaths for the magical all-our-bad-players-in-exchange-for-Malkin trade of our dreams, it’s time to take stock of the current situation. Who’s in and who’s out?
OUT: Mark Mancari
Mark Mancari, I absolutely refused to give up on you, and I’m sad you’ve moved on. I’ll miss you… not so much your playing (which always seemed super fabulous to me, actually), but definitely your tall swarthiness. Good luck in Vancouver, and don’t party too hard at the Roxy.
IN: Robyn Regehr
I’m totally, totally psyched that we’re going to have a stay-at-home, punchy defenseman named “Robyn” on the Sabres. Thanks for waiving your no trade clause, Robyn. Please let me apologize in advance for your new nickname, which is “Sloth”. Yes, you do remind me a teensy-tiny bit of that guy from the Goonies, but I assure you, “Sloth” is a term of affection at my house. There is no one I’d rather have on my side in case of a Mama Fratelli-related emergency than you, Robyn. Welcome to the team!
OUT: Rob Niedermayer
Dude Nieds, I finally learned how to spell your name, and then you had to go and move to Switzerland.
Well, thanks for that one goal you scored that one time! (No, but seriously, thanks for getting waaaay better in the playoffs. That was awesome. Hopefully some of these scrubs learned a thing or two from you.)
IN: Ales Kotalik
OUT: Steve Montador
This one stings a bit. There are just some guys you like, and Steve Montador is one of those guys. I wanted him to stay, and I feel a little bit like Monty got the shaft. I mean, he was totally a part of the Sabres bridge from suckiness to not-so-suckiness, and it doesn’t feel fair that he got the heave-ho. On the other hand he signed a FAT contract in Chicago, so I think he’ll survive without us just fine. (I fully expect for Monty to start showing up in the background of all the, “Patrick Kane Is On Another Bender” articles on Deadspin. As the designated driver, or course.) Good luck, Monty. Thanks for being all-around awesome, and also for wearing that CHIPS outfit at the Catwalk for Charity.
IN: Ville Leino
Ville Leino, I have a good feeling about this signing, but man, Darcy took a big chance on you. I know that when Darcy said, “I’d like to offer you $27 million dollars, but only if you like playing center,” the only sane response was, “I don’t like playing center, I LOVE playing center,” but, you better be good at playing center. Seriously.
I don’t really know how to tell you this, but you’re sort of the new Vanek in that we-can’t-afford-anyone-else-because-we-gave-all-our-money-to-you sort of way.
Uh, no pressure or anything though.
OUT: Tim Connolly
Bye, Timmeh. Thanks for… everything. I wish things had ended differently, I really do. Mostly I wish you’d gone to, like, the Panthers or some team like that, so I could safely say “good luck,” but now you’re a disgusting Leaf, so you’ve left me no choice but to say, “I hope you never win again.”
IN: Christian Ehrhoff
This is the contract that really signaled that this is a new era of Sabres hockey. This contract completely blew my mind. Ehrhoff’s contract is mega-cap-circumvent-y and it (theoretically) extends until the end of time.The assumption is that eventually they’ll just buy him out, but still. It completely rocks my world-view that of all the current Sabres, Ehrhoff is the one slated to be around for the longest. In ten years I’ll be forty-five years old which is impossibly old. Surely I’ll be dead by then, right?
OUT: Chris Butler
There is NOTHING not to love about Chris Butler. I’ll miss you, Butts. Have fun in Calgary, and thanks for being such a good Sabre. I’m sorry I don’t have much to say about you, but this post is going on forever, and I’m really getting tired of writing it. The good thing about you is that I doubt you’ll mind. You seem like such a good sport about this sort of thing.
So, that’s where we stand. We’ve said our goodbyes, and we’ve welcomed the newcomers. I, for one, am ready for the new season to begin!