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Sabre rattling: McBain not qualified, Conacher in limbo

Jun 30, 2014, 11:56 AM EDT

Tim Murray’s dramatic rebuild in Buffalo continued on Monday, as he declined to make a qualifying offer for RFA defenseman Jamie McBain, and said RFA forward Cory Conacher would “maybe” get one.

That Buffalo parted ways with McBain, 26, is pretty interesting. He played a lot last year — 69 games, averaging over 20 minutes a night — and had decent offensive output with six goals and 17 points. He was on a two-year, $3.6 million deal with a $1.8 million cap hit, so it’s hard to figure why the Sabres didn’t even attempt to bring him back, given they’re $20 million away from the salary cap floor.

The Buffalo News’ John Vogl sheds light on why Murray may have made the decision…

As for Conacher, this marks the latest in a steady decline since a banner rookie campaign in which he scored 29 points in 47 games and finished sixth in Calder voting. He was scooped off waivers from Ottawa last season and performed reasonably well for Buffalo, scoring six points in 19 games.

That said, Buffalo was his third team in less than a calendar year and there are concerns his diminutive stature (5-foot-8, 179 pounds) just won’t cut it in the NHL long-term.

  1. storminator16 - Jun 30, 2014 at 11:57 AM

    That Sekera deal looks lovelier by the minute, doesn’t it?

    • thomasvanek - Jun 30, 2014 at 1:10 PM

      Yeah, he was a whopping +4 and the Canes still didn’t make the playoffs. I don’t miss him at all.

      • raleighcaniac - Jun 30, 2014 at 1:28 PM

        With a handle like thomasvanek your hockey knowledge is further south than Key West

      • storminator16 - Jun 30, 2014 at 3:30 PM

        Uhhhmmm…Buffalo didn’t exactly light the world on fire either. With that said, Sekera’s minutes were meaningful. I can’t say the same about McBain. Whenever I watched Buffaslug, he was still his terri-bad self.

    • 3linepass - Jun 30, 2014 at 1:19 PM

      I’d prefer to wait until TJ Compher shows up……ask me then. The trade wasn’t Sekera for McBain

      • storminator16 - Jun 30, 2014 at 3:31 PM

        Ok, I’ll wait 6 years from now when he’s playing with his 2nd team to evaluate the trade.

      • storminator16 - Jun 30, 2014 at 3:32 PM

        And I’m speaking about Compher.

  2. Andee - Jun 30, 2014 at 12:00 PM

    Murray has carte blanche to do with this team whatever he sees fit. Got to believe in something / anything at this point.

  3. barkar942 - Jun 30, 2014 at 12:22 PM

    Well, you Sabres fans should be happy that the new GM is not looking for status quo for you all. I was most surprised that Cally didn’t wait and sign here as Captain, but sounds like you will have a large new group of players this season.

  4. 19to77 - Jun 30, 2014 at 12:42 PM

    I like what Tim Murray is doing. Full commitment to the rebuild, sweeping out the old guard of the disasterous Pegula era, just piling up draft picks like nobody’s business… guy sure as hell knows how to build aggressively. It’s fun to watch. The team the Sabres end up with 3-4 years down the road will look nothing like the one it’s had recently.

    • bullwinkle88 - Jun 30, 2014 at 2:07 PM

      Actually Murray is just carrying out what Darcy Regier started. Almost all of those picks came from Regier’s brilliant trades.

      Also the Old Guard didn’t come from Pegula. They began with Golisano & Rigas.

      But you’re right, before this is over, the Sabres will have a complete makeover.

  5. valoisvipers - Jun 30, 2014 at 1:09 PM

    Strange to hear a GM saying he is looking for older guys but I guess the team will need some veteran presence on it to guide the young-ins. It will be a hard task though to sign UFA’s to a rebuilding team located in Buffalo. How to you say Over Pay Over Pay?

    • bullwinkle88 - Jun 30, 2014 at 2:08 PM

      Over pay is OK. They have more than enough $ to do that on short term contracts.

  6. DED - Jun 30, 2014 at 1:32 PM

    McBain is a defenseman that shoots right. I could see Sather picking him up for about $2 million. I’m not saying he should, but I can see him doing it if Stralman walks.

  7. djshnooks - Jun 30, 2014 at 2:27 PM

    You mean the Sekera pick where McBain was a throw-in with two 2nd round picks?

    One being JT Compher who was one of the best freshman in college hockey?

    Yes, it looks lovely…give Sekera a little more time and watch how bad he gets. I’d take Compher over Sekera every time.

    • storminator16 - Jun 30, 2014 at 3:33 PM

      Keep dreaming there, Buffalo. Outside of Pittsburgh and Carolina fans, you guys make me laugh the most.

  8. djshnooks - Jun 30, 2014 at 2:29 PM

    Ps. This still is the Pegula era. Lol.

  9. anthj99 - Jun 30, 2014 at 3:29 PM

    And still Mike Weber is on the team.

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