Sabres' Botterill said there will likely be no buyouts this season

June 15, 2018 - 3:33 pm
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Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - The NHL’s buyout period opened on Friday right after midnight, but don’t expect the Sabres to be part of it. Jason Botterill told me, “I don’t see us having any buyouts this year, obviously things could always change over the next little bit here, but from our standpoint, just the way some of our contracts are structured, we don’t want to have cap hits beyond this year, so we see it being more beneficial to ride the year out and go from there.”

We got into some other topics including Thursday’s trade of Hudson Fasching to Arizona for the rights to BU defenseman Brandon Hickey and unrestricted free agent Mike Sislo. Fasching, who is a restricted free agent ended the season in Rochester being a healthy scratch and Botterill said, “We would’ve been qualifying him, but with players like Justin Bailey, Nick Baptiste, bringing in Danny O’Regan, bringing in Andrew Oglevie, we felt we had an abundance at right wing and we’ve looked to try to bring in more defensemen and continue to work with them.

“We’re very excited about young players such as Brendan Guhle and having players such as Casey Fitzgerald within the organization and we plan to bring more players into that too, so that’s why we signed a player like Lawrence Pilut and with Brandon, we bring in a player whose skating is an asset and we’re looking forward to working with them the next few years.”

The Sabres cannot sign Hickey until July 1 and have until Aug. 15 when he would become an unrestricted free agent. Botterill said “We’ve obtained his rights, he’ll be at development camp in two weeks for us and we feel very comfortable that we’ll be able to get a contract in place at July 1.”

Ever since the season ended there has been speculation that there would be changes to Phil Housley’s coaching staff. Botterill didn’t seem like that is going to happen, “Right now we feel comfortable with our guys. We continue to talk with Phil from that standpoint, but right now our staff is the same as it was.”

Botterill has until June 25 to extend qualifying offers to his restricted free agents. Botterill didn’t want to get too far into that, “Right now we’re still going through our evaluation process and I’d just feel more comfortable if we talk about that as we get closer to the 25th and make a statement in general about the entire group.”

There are reports out there that Victor Antipin has already signed in the KHL, which Botterill confirmed are false. Botterill said, “In our conversations with his agent and in our conversations with him, he wants to play in North America again next year.

“Because of his past resume, there will always be that option in the KHL, but it’s my understanding, he hasn’t signed there.”

That is consistent with what Antipin told me after the season.

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