News broke late this morning that Nathan Gerbe has been signed to a multi-year contract by the Buffalo Sabres. Reports say it will be a three-year deal. (credit WGR 550 for that info). Bob McKenzie says the contract will be worth $4.3 million which is good for a 1.433 cap hit.
This was a wise move for the Sabres. Gerbe established himself as a fixture in the second half of the season and simply extending an qualifying offer would have been a mistake. Add to that the fact that it is a sweetheart deal at only 1.433 per season. This certainly afford the Sabres some room under the cap and a bargain for a 20-goal player.
By locking him up for more than a season the Sabres ensure that he can continue to progress. This virtually ensures that a winger will be traded as the summer continues. The top candidates being Brad Boyes and Jochen Hecht.
I’m interested to see how this will affect Darcy Regier’s approach for Friday. Brad Richards is rumored to be looking for about $6.5 million per season, that is a manageable number that I’m certain Regier will hit or exceed with his offer.
Still, count on at least one incumbent winger to be traded away in order to create cap space for free agents.