By Brandon J. Koch
Jason Botterill during his time with the Pittsburgh Penguins had been known to work the salary cap.
With the Penguins having Crosby, Malkin, Fleury and Letang during Botterill’s tenure, he worked the cap well.
He has to do that with the Sabres.
Signing Casey Nelson to a 2 year deal worth $1.6 million is a good start. That’s a nice contract for the production Nelson gave the Sabres last season. This is what Botterill has to do for now until he can find a way to work with the cap.
Zach Bogosian still has a decent cap hit amount and term left, while Jason Pominville has one year remaining at $5.6. Hopefully the Kyle Okposo investment rebounds next season.
He gets a little breathing room this offseason as Gorges, Lehner and Johnson’s contracts are all of the book. But, Eichel’s contract kicks in July 1st.
Then there’s figuring out a contract for Sam Reinhart, which could be between $4-5 million on the cap.
A big trade will help clear the cap, but it will take a haul for Botterill to trade Ryan O’Reilly and Rasmus Ristolainen.
So for right now, it’s the bargain moves that will help the Sabres. Scott Wilson will most likely be resigned for a cap friendly deal. Evan Rodrigues still has a year left at $650,000. Oh and by the way, Mittelstadt and Dahlin (soon enough) have entry-level contracts. Brendan Guhle still has two years on his entry level contract.
You can look down at Rochester for players that will fight for roster spots. CJ Smith, Justin Bailey, Nick Baptiste and signings earlier from this offseason.
Work your magic, Jason Botterill.