Rej Gets A Raise

Today, the Sabres inked Andrej Sekera to a 4 year deal worth $11 million dollars ($2.75 cap hit) and it breaks down like this: $4.25 million, 2012-13, $3.25 million, and $1.75 million in 2013-14 & 2014-15). There’s also a $4.75 million signing bonus that has to be paid out by July of 2012.

There will be plenty of people who will not be happy with signing because they feel that Sekera is in their eyes “only a 3rd pairing defenseman” or a “fringe NHL-defenseman.” I think those people don’t watch the games closely enough. Sekera is guy that I feel is right on the cusp of breaking out. In his last 20 games, Sekera netted 17 points and saw his role on the team increase; he became a big part of the Sabres transition game and their offense suffered while he was out of the lineup against the Flyers in the playoffs, plus his “strength of competition” was 2nd on the team to Tyler Myers. All of those things are very encouraging signs for the future and I for one couldn’t be happier that Darth…err Darcy Regier managed to get a top-4 defenseman with top pairing upside like Sekera for a $2.75 million cap hit. This signing wipes out the remote possibility of Shaone Morrisonn of being on the roster and relegates Marc-Andre Gragnani to the role of the #7 defenseman. I don’t think Gragnani’s development will get stunted by this though. He will still probably end up getting to play in 45-50 games because of various injuries to the d-core throughout the season.

On a lesser note, cult hero, Matt Ellis got re-signed today as well (2 years, $550 K cap hit) ($550,000 two-way, $550,000 one-way). All the one-way contract status means is that the Sabres are on the hook for his NHL salary, regardless of whether he plays with the Sabres or Rochester. It doesn’t mean that the Sabres can’t send him down to the minors or anything like that. Ellis will assuredly be in Rochester for the duration of his contract, save for the odd injury call-up, which is fine by me. Ellis has always had limited NHL-talent, but he busts his tail every shift and is a great role-model for the Sabres’ prospects. I think a guy like him will have a great effect on a talent like Kassian who still has work to do in the maturity and work-ethic department.

With both of these signings, the Sabres are almost $3 million over the cap, which is fine because that falls into the 10% cap allowance for the off-season and Kotalik & Morrisonn’s combined cap hit of $5,075,000 will be off the books by then. Buffalo can still make other moves besides the ones involving Kotalik and Morrisonn if they choose to, but I think what you’re seeing is what you’re getting as far as this upcoming year’s roster’s concerned. Every Sabres fan should be extremely happy with the defense for next year. I doubt you’re going to find many NHL defensive depth charts that look this good on paper, 1-7.

Regehr-Myers

Leopold-Ehrhoff

Weber-Sekera

x Gragnani

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