Before the draft even got underway, the Buffalo Sabres attempted to give themselves a yet another self-inflicted wound. The Sabres, as you may recall, owned the worst offense in the league last season by a sizeable margin and the prudent move would have been to concentrate on strengthening this weakness but instead they traded for a goalie.
Here is the deal: The Ottawa Senators traded goaltender Robin Lehner and forward David Legwand to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for the 21st overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.
Here is the skinny: The Senators dump the near-useless Legwand (9 goals last season) and his poisonous $3.0 million cap hit as, once again, Buffalo is forced to pick up another expensive NHL journeyman in order to reach the salary cap floor. This, in turn, will trigger the highly-desired revenue sharing clauses in the current CBA. When will management in Buffalo learn that this is a viscous cycle and that prizing revenue sharing above putting a competitive team on the ice is just bad business? Although he’s not without some value, Lehner is, at best, a NHL average goaltender on a decent team (which Buffalo will not be during the next two seasons). Lehner has posted a 30-36-13 career record with a .914 save percentage and a 2.88 goals-against average in 86 games with the Senators. His biggest asset for the Sabres is his cap hit of $2.3 million until he reaches restricted free agent status in 2017. This is a lopsided deal. The Sabres have sacrificed a 21st overall pick. Now all they need to do is misspend $5.5 million more in order to reach the salary floor of $52.8 million. Good grief.