This has been the busiest week for free-agent signings for the Sabres this summer.
Darcy Regier went out and grabbed some Stanley Cup experience and grit with Rob Niedermayer and then had Mike Weber accept his one-year qualifying offer. In addition, Corey Tropp was inked to a three-year entry level deal. Then came the big one. This afternoon the Sabres announced that they had re-signed Patrick Lalime to a one-year deal.
Now, Regier made it clear that they want to bring along Jhonas Enroth in his development. Personally, I think they need to bring him along so that his trade stock can rise in the next year or two. So, I would imagine that you will see Enroth and Lalime split 20-25 games while Ryan Miller (deservedly so) gets the bulk of the work load.
I still think there was a better option available than Lalime as the Sabres backup. In 30 games with the Sabres, Lalime has a record of 9-21-5, that just isn’t good enough. Andrew Raycroft, Alex Auld, Marty Biron or Johan Hedberg would have provided the Sabres with a more viable option.
But, Lalime is a good locker room guy and gets along very well with Ryan Miller. A happy Ryan Miller is a good Ryan Miller, so in that sense it is a good move to keep Lalime around. But, I have never been a fan of Enroth’s game and I don’t think he will ever be a good NHL goalie. They should unload him as soon as possible so that he can provide some sort of return.
Hopefully Darcy has a few more tricks up his sleeve. He made a wise choice with Niedermayer, lets see if he can’t make another one with his next acquisition.
- In other news, Evgeni Nabokov split for the KHL. He signed a four-year deal with SKA Petersburg. That deal will take him to his 39th birthday. It seems we have seen the last of the Russian netminder in the NHL. Now, the KHL continues to grow and attract some bigger names from it’s North American cousin. Nabokov has never performed in the playoffs, so it makes sense that no NHL team was truly interested. I wonder where Marty Turco will end up. Not many teams are in dire need of a goalie. As another playoff-choker, he might want to choose the KHL or retirement.
- Ilya Kovalchuk has yet to sign. I guess he and LeBron are in a race to be the last to sign. Sorry Ilya, you don’t have the appeal to North America that Bron does. I feel his price tag could be going down. Especially if the Devils 7-year $60 million contract isn’t going through. I bet he signs in or below the neighborhood of $8 million a year, or he bolts to the KHL for a massive $10 million-year deal.