What are the Buffalo Sabres 15 best and 15 worst non- entry level contracts they have signed since the NHL had a salary cap? This is one of those teams where the worst contracts list was much easier to assemble than the good deals.
1- Ryan Miller, July 18 2008, 5 years $31.3M: Signed by Darcy Regier. This is not exactly a bargain, but he won a Vezina in 2010 and that’s usually good for automatic entry to a team’s best contracts list.
2- Jason Pominville, July 27 2006, 3 years $3.1M: Signed by Darcy Regier. They got 214 PTS in 246 GP at a bargain price. In year two he scored a career high 80 PTS at age 24.
3- Brian Campbell, July 11 2006, 2 years $3M: Signed by Darcy Regier. Getting 110 blueline PTS in 141 GP for $3M is unreal. Even after adjusting for a smaller cap in 2006 this is still an incredible bargain. His next contract will be a monster.
4- Derek Roy, July 27 2007, 6 years $24M: Signed by Darcy Regier. They got 327 PTS in 397 GP. Most of that production came over the first 4 seasons and he tailed off in years five and six at age 29 and 30. At that point though, he had already earned the money he made.
5- Rasmus Ristolainen, Oct 11 2016, 6 years $32M: Signed by Tim Murray. There were rumblings about Ristolainen’s subpar play early in 2017/18, but he’s still just 22 and being leaned on to play way too many minutes. There are only six other defensemen since 2005 who have put up at least 45 PTS at age 21.
6- Daniel Briere, Aug 3 2006, 1 year $5M: Signed by Darcy Regier. Briere scored 95 PTS and earned himself a monster free agent contract. It was great value for the Sabres, but they ultimately lost the asset.
7- Ales Kotalik, July 23, 2006, 3 years $7M: Signed by Darcy Regier. They got 124 PTS in 220 GP. His next contract signed at age 30 can be viewed on the New York Rangers worst contracts list.
8- Ryan Miller, Sept 8 2006, 3 years $8M: Signed by Darcy Regier. He played 198 games with 110 Wins, 61 Loses, 10 Shutouts, and a .912 SV% at a low price.
9- Andrej Sekera, July 19 2011, 4 years $11M: Signed by Darcy Regier. He only scored 25 PTS over the first two seasons, but then was traded to Carolina for Jamie McBain and a 2nd round pick. In Carolina he enjoyed a 44-point season at a great price.
10- Drew Stafford, Sep 13 2009, 2 years $3.8M: Signed by Darcy Regier. He scored 86 PTS on this bridge deal and earned himself a nice 4 year $16M contract after this one (which you can see on their worst contracts list below).
11- Jochen Hecht, Aug 15 2005, 3 years $6M: Signed by Darcy Regier. That’s a respectable price for 215 GP and 147 PTS, even after accounting for cap inflation. Scroll down to the worst contracts list to see his next deal.
12- Derek Roy, July 14 2006, 1 year $782K: Signed by Darcy Regier. He scored 63 PTS for under $1M. That’s a win.
13- Ryan Miller, Aug 12 2005, 1 year $500K: Signed by Darcy Regier. If you can get 48 GP from a goalie for close to the league minimum, that tends to be good value. He won 30 games with a .914 SV%.
14- Paul Gaustad, June 30 2008, 4 years $9.2M: Signed by Darcy Regier. In 278 GP they got 103 PTS and over 4000 face-off wins. He had his career year the season before signing this contract, but still was a very useful 3rd line center.
15- Maxim Afinogenov, Aug 15 2005, 1 year $1.1M: Signed by Darcy Regier. The Russian was squeezed into a very team friendly deal coming out of the lost season and responded with 73 PTS.
1- Ville Leino, July 1 2011, 6 years $27M: Signed by Darcy Regier. He scored 56 PTS the season before signing this contract. In 3 seasons for Buffalo he scored just 46 PTS before being bought out.
2- Christian Ehrhoff, June 30 2011, 10 years $40M: Signed by Darcy Regier. He scored 50 PTS his last season in Vancouver and has not approached that total since. He was bought out after just three seasons. The AAV was a decent number, but it was the term that earned this buyout.
3- Matt Moulson, July 1 2014, 5 years $25M: Signed by Tim Murray. That’s a huge price tag for 94 PTS in 253 GP. By year four he was playing in the AHL.
4- Cody Hodgson, Sep 11 2013, 6 years $25.5M: Signed by Darcy Regier. He scored 20 goals and 44 PTS while averaging 18m of ice time per game in year one, then in year two his production completely collapsed down to 13 PTS in 78 GP and was bought out. He retired a year later at age 26.
5- Tyler Ennis, July 16 2014, 5 years $23M: Signed by Tim Murray. He scored 46 PTS in year one. He then scored 24 PTS in 74 GP in year two and three combined before being shipped out of town in the Scandella trade and eventually bought out.
6- Thomas Vanek, July 6 2007, 7 years $50M: Signed by Darcy Regier. This was an offer sheet signed by the Edmonton Oilers and matched by Buffalo. He did score 424 PTS over the span of this contract, but in hindsight the team would have been way smarter to let him go to Edmonton and take the 4 first round picks as compensation.
7- Kyle Okposo, July 1 2016, 7 years $42M: Signed by Tim Murray. We may not be having this conversation if not for injury and illness, but they did give a 7-year contract to a 28-year-old so a production decline was predictable, it has just happened sooner than expected.
8- Jochen Hecht, Oct 16 2007, 4 years $14M: Signed by Darcy Regier. They gave him a 4-year contract at age 31 and his point production immediately dropped from 49 to 27. By year four he scored just 8 PTS.
9- Shaone Morrisonn, Aug 2 2010, 2 years $4.2M: Signed by Darcy Regier. He played the entire 2nd season of this contract in the AHL. What else do I need to say?
10- Robyn Lehner, July 25 2017, 1 year $4M: That’s a bit expensive for a 3.01 GAA and .908 SV%. Although he did help Buffalo secure the first overall pick, so it’s not a complete loss.
11- Brian Gionta, July 1 2014, 3 years $12.8M: Signed by Tim Murray. They gave a multi year contract to a 35-year-old and he averaged 34 PTS per season. He retired at the end of this contract.
12- Cody McCormick, July 1 2011, 3 years $3.6M: Signed by Darcy Regier. He scored 11 PTS in 101 GP and saw time in the AHL.
13- Teppo Numminen, July 4 2007, 1 year $2.6M: Signed by Darcy Regier. Numminen played only 1 game.
14- Henrik Tallinder, July 21 2006, 4 years $10.2M: Signed by Darcy Regier. That AAV is closer to $4.5M accounting for cap inflation, and he only reached 20 PTS once in 4 seasons.
15- Drew Stafford, June 3 2011, 4 years $16M: Signed by Darcy Regier. He had a respectable 50 PTS in 80 GP in year one, but has not approached that number since. Year three saw him score 38 PTS in 76 GP. He was -46 over the span of the whole contract.