With the National Hockey League‘s free-agency frenzy slightly over a month away, the Buffalo Sabres will be faced with some in-house decisions regarding the status of certain players. We intend to look at each situation, provide some analysis (the key word is some) and share our opinion on where they will wind up. Who shall stay and who will depart? We’ll now be moving on to Alexander Sulzer.
Contract Details: Pending unrestricted free agent
Last Year: Salary of $725,000 and cap hit of $725,000
The Scoop: General manager Darcy Regier does not receive very much credit for his trade deadline maneuvers typically, but so far, this one is looking to favor Buffalo. Cody Hodgson is further along in his development than Zack Kassian is with the Vancouver Canucks, and although Sulzer was hurt for most of last season, the news of Marc-Andre Gragnani choosing to go to the Kontinental Hockey League makes it an undisputed decision for the Sabres. After posting eight points in 15 games following the deal and handling heavy minutes of ice time, Sulzer was given a one-year extension.
Why They Would Want to Keep Him: Should a lack of opportunity slow him down, Sulzer is not one to whine about it or make his grievances publicly heard. He has a good head on his shoulders and prospered when paired with Christian Ehrhoff, a fellow German, in the past. Sulzer provides a calm presence, quietly thwarting forwards, and also chips in with some offense thanks in large part to a deceptive shot. Quietly, the veteran will be a mature professional in all aspects of the sport.
What Will Worry Them: A torn ACL cancelled out a good chunk of Sulzer’s second year in Buffalo, and there will be concerns about a repeat incident.
Final Verdict: Lindy Ruff was more than generous with Sulzer’s ice time, providing him with numerous chances to impress his superior. But he only played two games under Ruff’s successor, Ron Rolston, before being sidelined, and there is no guarantee that he will see as many minutes from him. The excitement Regier expressed about him in 2012 is a good sign that a deal will manifest itself though.