Elliott Friedman of CBC wrote Wednesday that there is a belief that the Buffalo Sabres offered both Zach Parise and Ryan Suter $100 million each. It’s simultaneously surprising and...not. I’ve tried to work through what it means. Here’s my best guess.
Friedman’s column about the Parise/Suter sweepstakes named a number of teams that were interested in acquiring one or both of the unrestricted free agents. The Sabres were apparently looking at both. Let’s assume that the belief is on point, and that the Sabres were indeed prepared to shell out $100 million to each player.
1. No one on this roster is safe
I mean NO ONE. Add Ryan Suter to your defense corps at a hit of 8+ million dollars and you’re making moves. This team already has too many defensemen. It might have facilitated a Myers trade. Crazier things have happened. I think the Sabres are very confident in their D corps, but if they’d added Suter to that...they’d have to find room for him from a salary standpoint, and they’d have to tighten things up from a numbers standpoint as well. The same goes for Parise. If Parise comes in, then who goes out? Vanek? Pominville? That’s the top of the food chain. No one is safe.
2. Gas wells are getting drilled
$67.5 million committed last year on July 1st. Contract extensions for Myers and Stafford. Scouting staff doubled. Locker room. Minor league affiliate purchased. Laser Zambonis. Arena improvements. Yeah...that was the opening act. 200 MILLION on two players that are GOOD players. They aren’t the elite of the elite. This could be a bit scary to be truthful. While I love the aggressive approach, I get the feeling that someone needs to say “You don’t have to ask out every girl that walks into the bar”. 27.5 million to Ville Leino has some folks a bit gun-shy on free agency. It’s still a bit odd to wrap your mind around the idea that the Buffalo Sabres who wouldn’t pay Daniel Briere 5 million a season without an arbitrator, are now the kind of franchise that would toss out 200 million in one day. There would have been Dan Snyder references but hey...if you have the money, go get great players.
3. Something big is coming
The acquisitions of Parise and Suter would have meant that multiple players on the team would have to leave. But this is more than that. The idea that the Sabres were chasing both means to me that Terry Pegula, and through him Darcy Regier, is looking for a signature move. Last year’s free agent signings were some of the bigger ones, but nothing gargantuan. Whether it’s via trade, or free agency I get the feeling that the way things are run at the top with the Sabres....they want a singular move that is so transcendent...so powerful...so culture changing...that they’ll try every opportunity to get it done. The money they reportedly offered to those two makes me think it’s more likely they are the team that would bid the most for Shane Doan. That’s not what I’m talking about though. I think the Buffalo Sabres will sometime very soon make a franchise defining move. I can’t promise you that it will be this offseason. Perhaps next offseason...or the next.
They were ready to throw $200 million at two players that are very good. The culture change has been apparent for quite some time now. I think it’s a matter of time before the signature move...the piece de resistance...comes down.
I don’t have inside info. The team is telling you daily. They’re after Ryan, Nash, and whoever else might be out there. They went for Parise and Suter with big money (and apparently neither player wanted to play in the Eastern Conference so...losing out on them doesn’t represent a whole lot). We have waited so long for something truly bold. I think this is just another indication that it’s coming. You have to strike at your opportunity. When it truly presents itself...I think the Sabres will be quite aggressive. Maybe next week. Maybe next year.
Big things await us in the future.
Don’t you think?