The Buffalo Sabres continue to make noise, as they try and shore up spots on their roster, strengthening it throughout. They kept pretty busy on Saturday, when free agency opened up, but kept the splashes pretty small, signing only one pool worthy player amongst the group.
Goaltender Chad Johnson will return to the Sabres for the 2017 season, only a year removed from his last stint, where he spent the season in Calgary with the Flames. Johnson appeared in 36 games, posting 18 wins and 42 hockey pool points, good enough for 31st among all goalies.
Once Robin Lehner has a new contract, it is expected that both he and Johnson will likely split the duties and the hot hand will probably stay in the crease, as they go.
Forwards Benoit Pouliot and Jacob Josefson were also added to the team's projected roster below after they signed new deals with the Sabres, neither were worthy in the 2017 season, but they should be everyday guys for the team, assuming they can stay healthy.
|Ryan O'Reilly||7.500||Rasmus Ristolainen||5.400||Chad Johnson||2.500|
|Kyle Okposo||6.000||Zach Bogosian||5.143||Linus Ullmark||0.750|
|Jason Pominville||5.600||Marco Scandella||4.000|
|Evander Kane||5.250||Josh Gorges||3.900|
|Matt Moulson||5.000||Jake McCabe||1.600|
|Benoit Pouliot||1.150||Justin Falk||0.650|
|Jack Eichel||0.925||Casey Nelson||0.650|
There is still quite a bit of work to be done in Buffalo, as mentioned, Lehner needs a new deal, as does Zemgus Girgensons, Johan Larsson and recently-acquired defenseman Nathan Beaulieu. The Sabres have about $13.2 million in unused cap space, considering the 23-man roster above. All four players should come in with room to spare, one would think, as this team rounds out quite nicely.
The goal for the Sabres was to keep their franchise player happy in this off-season and I would have to think that Jack Eichel likes what he sees, so far. Buffalo has done well to add some pieces and shift around some money to the spots that really needed it. Their blueline should be far more impressive this year, now that they have acquired more help for Ristolainen. Once the goaltending finally get sorted out, these guys should be ready to compete on opening night.