The Buffalo Sabres got big and nasty with their only signing on July 1. The Sabres agreed to terms with John Scott on a one-year contract reportedly worth $600K.
With the rest of the Northeast Division investing in tough, gritty players, the Sabres were looking awfully thin in the pugnacity department as the day wore on. After another year in which people questioned Buffalo’s grit, Scott should help fill the void.
Buffalo was silent for nearly the entire day and it seemed as if they were falling further behind in the toughness department as compared to their biggest rivals. Montreal re-signed Travis Moen last week and then threw a wheelbarrow of money at Brandon Prust. The Maple Leafs added Jay McClement and every just seems to be keeping up with the big, bad Bruins.
Scott is capable of playing wing or defense, although his contributions at each position will be severely limited. He will be better suited as a fourth line winger who sees a maximum of eight minutes each night that he dresses.
The decision to sign Scott is wise, don’t think that this is a waste. First, he isn’t impacting the cap one bit. Secondly, he is a player that is difficult to play against and that is precisely what Darcy Regier has been looking to add.
Don’t expect Scott to be an every night player. He will mix well with Cody McCormick, Pat Kaleta and Corey Tropp. Buffalo would still be wise to find one more capable fourth line player so that Matt Ellis doesn’t need to be counted on each night. Since Ellis’ contract switches to a two-way deal this year, he is an affordable choice for Rochester.
It would seem as if Scott has been brought in to add a massive dose of toughness and that every shift grit that the Sabres sorely lacked on a near nightly basis last season. He will most certainly dress against Boston, Montreal and at least half of the games against Ottawa and Toronto. The Rangers (his former team) boast plenty of goons, so he will likely see a few games there. I’d count on him for 40 games, more depending on injuries.
Don’t count on Scott to be Darcy Regier’s only move for the rest of the summer. Understand his patience with an ultra-thin market and the fact that he did get a player who can fill two roles if absolutely necessary.
Like it or not, the rest of free agency will be a wait and see operation for the Sabres and their fans.