As the Buffalo Sabres organization remains in flux, rumors will continue to swirl.
Normally, Sabres101.com doesn't buy into the rumor mill. However, some of the rumors going around seem to have some merit to them.
Ted Nolan is running the team with the interim tag in his title this season, after signing a one-year deal. However, sources have indicated that Pat LaFontaine's criteria for the new general manager includes their willingness to keep Nolan. LaFontaine couldn't wait to bring Nolan back to Buffalo for his second stint with the team, and it appears he believes Nolan deserves a fair shot in the NHL. At least, that is the rumor going around regarding the coach's status. LaFontaine has not spoken to Sabres101.com directly, so the information isn't confirmed. However, this one isn't very far fetched. LaFontaine and Nolan are very close and he indicated that Nolan didn't get a fair chance in the NHL in his previous time with the Sabres or with the New York Islanders.
Since Nolan has taken the over the reigns, the Sabres have played a much harder game. Granted, they're still at the bottom of the league's standings, but the team has responded to Nolan's message and has been able to string together some points, which will build confidence in such a young team. If Nolan is retained, it wouldn't be the worst move the Sabres could do, as the players seem to like him and are willing to play for him, which is far more than one could say when Ron Rolston was in Buffalo.
Moving forward, the Sabres have stockpiled draft picks, and are apparently not interested in swapping multiple assets for the No. 1 pick in next year's draft, if they don't earn it in the lottery. The team has kicked around the idea of trying to come to terms to a deal that would resemble the infamous Quebec Norqiques deal, in which they used to draft Eric Lindros. However, it has been mentioned that Quebec didn't make out as well as they had hoped in the deal, and that the plan is to continue build assets. That being said, free agency is apparently not off the table, either.
Buffalo will have plenty of salary cap space this offseason, after dumping the contracts of Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville. Buffalo apparently plans on being "very aggressive" in free agency. Whether that means they will be able to convince Ryan Miller to stay in Buffalo will remain to be seen. But one name outside of the Sabres that is being thrown around is New York Rangers captain Ryan Callahan. Callahan's contract is set to expire and after New York broke the bank for Henrik Lundqvist, many don't expect the Rangers to be able to sign him. The Sabres will have the cap space to do so, and now has an owner willing to pay the money to bring the talented forward to Buffalo. The addition of Callahan would do wonders for a young team struggling to score goals, and might even convince Miller that the team is heading in the right direction.
While the rumor mill is dangerous to invest much merit into, it's important to take these for what they are; rumors. While they may, or may not be facts today, it could completely change tomorrow. Still, with the team in such an uncertain situation, from management to players, speculation will happen, and the next nine months or so should be interesting.
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- Buffalo Sabres Make Smart Move with Pat LaFontaine, Ted Nolan Tandum
- Ted Nolan Acknowledges Frustration, Expects Turnaround for Buffalo Sabres
- Buffalo Sabres, Calgary Flames Meet in Battle of Rebuilding Teams
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