Aug 28, 2014, 10:46 PM EDT
Since the start of 2013, three different players have worn the ‘C’ in Buffalo — Jason Pominville, Thomas Vanek, and Steve Ott — and they have all been traded. That’s created something of a leadership vacuum for the Sabres going into the 2014-15 campaign.
Fortunately, there have some candidates to fill that void.
Perhaps the most obvious player is Brian Gionta, who inked a three-year, $12.75 million contract with Buffalo over the summer. The 35-year-old doesn’t have experience within the Sabres’ organization, but he has a strong resume after serving as the Montreal Canadiens’ captain and winning the Stanley Cup.
He could prove to be a mentor for the young Sabres and aide them in their rebuilding efforts. After his tenure with Buffalo ends, the team could then hand the captaincy to one of the young forwards that’s established himself and symbolically complete the transitional period at that time.
The Sabres might also opt to go with a younger option to put the focus more squarely on their future. Tyler Ennis, for example, is an interesting choice. He’s just 24 years old (25 in October), but already has 267 NHL games under his belt. On top of that, he’s starting a five-year, $23 million contract this season, so he’s someone that will be around for the rest of Buffalo’s rebuild and then still be young enough to lead them once the Sabres are on the other side of it.
Ennis plans to learn from Gionta and the other veterans on the team, but he also recognizes that at this point he should take on more responsibilities in the locker room.
Another option is for the team to pass on naming a captain this season. As a rookie, Sam Reinhart isn’t expected to take on that role, but the 18-year-old is, as Flames president Brian Burke put it, an “Einstein on the ice” and might be a serious candidate in a year or two if everything goes right. On top of that, if Buffalo has a bad season, it could end up drafting a potential superstar in Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel.
Would it make sense for the Sabres to leave the position vacant for now in the hopes that one of their promising young players will claim it? That’s up to head coach Ted Nolan, but he certainly has a few interesting paths he could take.
Jun 29, 2015, 10:55 PM EDT
He played with four different NHL teams last season.
Jun 29, 2015, 10:31 PM EDT
It’s not all about the Zac Rinaldo trade, although that certainly didn’t help.
Jun 29, 2015, 9:29 PM EDT
He establish himself with the team after years of work primarily in the AHL.
Jun 29, 2015, 8:26 PM EDT
San Jose still has an opening on its blueline.
Jun 29, 2015, 8:00 PM EDT
He’ll start the season as Vancouver’s backup goaltender.
Jun 29, 2015, 7:40 PM EDT
They are now set to become unrestricted free agents.
Jun 29, 2015, 6:43 PM EDT
He’ll reportedly earn $1 million next season.
Jun 29, 2015, 6:40 PM EDT
Toronto, Calgary and Pittsburgh are amongst the teams, which have reached out.
Jun 29, 2015, 5:54 PM EDT
The payment will be made on Wednesday.
Jun 29, 2015, 5:13 PM EDT
Bill Hay and Peter Karmanos Jr. are also going in as builders.
Jun 29, 2015, 4:27 PM EDT
Also inside is information about the potential cap recapture situation the Kings might be stuck with.
Jun 29, 2015, 3:53 PM EDT
Jun 29, 2015, 3:25 PM EDT
Processing Monday’s surprising termination.
Jun 29, 2015, 2:45 PM EDT
Could make about a $15 million difference …
Jun 29, 2015, 2:05 PM EDT
The 24-year-old’s three-year, $2.7 million deal is set to expire on Wednesday.
Jun 29, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT
If accurate, that’s $10.4M between Niemi and Kari Lehtonen.
Jun 29, 2015, 1:40 PM EDT
The 24-year-old was a pending restricted free agent.
Jun 29, 2015, 1:27 PM EDT
Get your dog puns ready.
Jun 29, 2015, 1:08 PM EDT
He should draw plenty of free agent interest.
Jun 29, 2015, 12:40 PM EDT
Both players can be bought out on Tuesday, if they clear.
- Agent: Franson has spoken with ‘half a dozen’ teams (Updated) 7
- Your 2015 HHOF Class: Fedorov, Housley, Lidstrom, Pronger, Ruggiero 31
- Trade: Flyers send Rinaldo to Bruins for 2017 third-rounder 94
- Bypassing a buyout? Kings terminate Richards’ contract for ‘material breach’ 82
- Sens’ Chiasson headed for arbitration 1
- Pricey Platoon? Stars reportedly sign Niemi for three years, $13.5M 18
- Hodgson, Stalberg placed on unconditional waivers 24
- Buyouts loom as Richards, Parenteau and Fistric clear unconditional waivers 4
- UFA of the Day: Chris Stewart 18
- Penguins sign Ian Cole to a three-year, $6.3 million deal 11
- Trade: Flyers send Rinaldo to Bruins for 2017 third-rounder (96)
- Bypassing a buyout? Kings terminate Richards’ contract for ‘material breach’ (85)
- Trade: Flames land Dougie Hamilton for package of picks (75)
- Trade: Busy Bruins send Lucic to Kings (66)
- Consensus reached: 5 minutes of 3-on-3 OT could be in place for 2015-16 (60)