The window for teams looking their compliance buyout is set to open on Wednesday night, which means that the free agent market could be getting a whole lot bigger. We’ve already heard of some big names in big markets that could be on their way out, or already are, but we haven’t heard much about the Buffalo Sabres in that regard.
That doesn’t mean that they won’t be a team making use of at least one of their buyouts. In fact, they’re a team that could very well use both of them as they try and shed some of their overpriced players on their roster. And we all know who the first subject could be in regard to a Buffalo buyout.
The Ville Leino contract simply hasn’t worked out for Buffalo. Who could have seen that coming? A guy coming off of limited success earned a big deal with a terrific season in a contract year signs a long-term, lucrative contract and it blows up in that team’s face. It was predictable.
Of course, Leino has been limited by his health over the past couple of seasons, particularly in 2013. He appeared in only eight games this year, finishing with six points. When he was healthy in his first year with the Sabres, the numbers weren’t pretty, as he posted only 25 in 71 games.
Leino isn’t the only name being floated around Buffalo as a potential buyout candidate, however. There are a pair of candidates on the blue line, including Tyler Myers and Christian Ehrhoff. Myers is due a $5.5 million cap hit for the next six years and hasn’t really lived up to his billing to this point, while Ehrhoff carries a $4 million cap hit until 2021.
Neither one of those deals looks very favorable, for Myers because of the money and Ehrhoff because of the term. But if the Sabres were really inclined to let go of either of them, they might try and find a taker out on the trade market before buying one of them out.
Expect the Sabres to use at least one of their buyouts this summer. They’re heading into a rebuild, or a cleanse of sorts, of their franchise. They’re looking to unload some of this veteran talent and could very well use a buyout on at least one of their overpaid veterans signed for the next several years. Leino seems like a lock, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see someone like Ehrhoff get hit with one as well.