Well, apparently when Darcy said end of the week, he meant the next day. Â According to the Sabres Official Twitter Account, the team has agreed to terms with RFA goalie Jhonas Enroth on a multi-year deal. Â No details have been released, stay tuned for more, but YAY WE FINALLY HAVE A COMPETENT BACK UP GOALIE!!!! WOOOOOO!!! (I apologize, but I’m very excited about this one!)
Well, we finally have some new news. Â Yesterday the team announced the signings of defenseman Andrej Sekera and gritty forward Matt Ellis to multi year contract extensions. Â The Sabres avoided arbitration with Sekera, who agreed to a rumored 4 year, $11 millon deal with a front loaded pay scale, according to anÂ article in USA Today. Â Ellis’ deal is apparently a two year, two-way contract; the amount of the contract has not been disclosed.
The Sabres have also signed minor league prospects Dennis Persson and Travis Turnball to one year contracts. Â Persson, a defenseman, was a first round pick in 2006 (#24 overall) and has spent the last 2 full seasons in the AHL. Â Turnball was signed by the Sabres as an undrafted college forward out of the University of Michigan in 2009 and has played with the Pirates since April of that year.
Patrick Lalime announced his retirement from the NHL after 12 seasons. Â He was with the Sabres for the past 3 seasons serving as Ryan Miller’s “back-up.” Â While he was not extremely successful in Buffalo, he still had a long and successful career, so on behalf of Sabres fans, thank you for 3 great years Mr. Lalime and best of luck with your newÂ endeavor with RDS!
In other happy news, the team announced today they had a record season ticket renewal rate of 99% for the 2011-2012 season!! Season ticket sales have been capped at 15,200, which also means that mini-pack sales, for the first time EVER in franchise history, have been capped. Â Mini-packs, which allow fans to purchase tickets to select games and essentially create their own ticket package, have been capped at 3,500 accounts.
Since the offseason is almost halfway gone, the Sabres also need to figure out how they are going to get back under the salary cap ceiling by the start of the regular season; keep in mind they still need to sign Enroth, who will now finally fill the void as the backup goaltender. Â Somethings gotta give, now its just a waiting game to see what that something is going to be.
Well the awesomeness in Pegulaville just keeps on coming. Â They Sabres made a splash on the first day of free agency by signing forward Ville Leino to a 6 year contract worth $27 million. Â Another awesome deal, at least in my mind. Leino is still young and should have no problem adjusting to Lindy’s system and he would look mighty nice centering a line with Jason Pominville and Tyler Ennis/Drew Stafford/Thomas Vanek. Â He’s big and is not afraid to play in front of the net, which is something this team has lacked outside of the services of Paul Gaustad and Vanek. Â I’m looking forward to seeing how Lindy works him into the fold and cna’t wait to see that beautiful shot next season.
To keep up with some of the grit, the Sabres also re-signed forward Cody McCormick to a multi-year deal. Â I love McCormick, seriously though he’s one of my favorites, and couldn’t be more excited to have him back. Â The combo of McCormick, Gaustad and Kaleta makes for quite the thundering third line, with McCormick leading the way with 16 fighting majors last season.
On a side note, Tim Connolly is GONE!!!!! I don’t even care that he signed with the Maple Leafs, thats how excited the city of Buffalo is to be done with his injury riddled self. Â The contract is of course absurd, I mean really, would you pay a middle of the road (at best) center, who is hurt more than he is healthy $4.75 million A YEAR… Thats $750,000 more than he was making in Buffalo. Â Either way, enjoy him Toronto, that is if you ever get to see him play.
Stay tuned, because there is no way this team is finished yet. There are still 4 RFA’s (Enroth, Gragnani, Weber and Sejkera) to sign and the team has about $1.3 million left until they hit the cap ceiling. Â Something’s gotta give, now its just a waiting game to see what that something is.