Sabres' Botterill is ready for free agency

The general manager said he's had talks with high-end and low-end players

Paul Hamilton
June 29, 2019 - 4:44 pm

Photo: Paul Hamilton (@pham1717)

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - Teams have been talking all week with prospective UFA’s and the Sabres are no different. Jason Botterill said, “We’ve had some good conversations throughout the week, both myself, Ralph and the rest of our management group with players, but I think what you see in the league. You just never know when trades or signings are going to happen and I feel very comfortable that we’re going to be adding to our depth in our organization and areas that we want to improve on and we’ll just continue our dialog with players and others teams to see if we can improve our team in general.”

Even though it’s almost never done in the NHL, fans still think there are going to be numerous offer sheets to restricted free agents. Botterill has an opinion on them, “I think you always have to look at it as an option if it’s going to improve our team, but I feel very comfortable in talking to you right now that that’s not an avenue where we’re close right now.”

There has been talk that Botterill contacted Joe Pavelski about free agency and maybe Matt Duchene. The Sabres GM said, “We’ve had some discussions and that’s the beauty of them being a free agent, they have a lot of teams after them, so we’ll see how it pans out.”

Of course Botterill was asked about trying to trade Rasmus Ristolainen. He said, “I’ve been excited about the dialog he’s had with Ralph over the last couple of months and yes, there’s going to be rumors because he’s a player that teams want to go after and it’s part of the reason why we wanted to bring Colin Miller into our group, a right shot defenseman under a good contract, so there’s always a demand for those.”

Botterill was asked directly if Ristolainen asked to be moved and he said, “I’m not going to get into conversations that I have with my players and I know that however I answer that question, it’s going to have speculation all over it.”

Free agency isn’t all about Buffalo. Botterill wants to win in Rochester too and he said he keeps that in mind, “We talked about it last week, a No. 3 goalie is very important for us and we like our depth on defense, but if we can find an opportunity to maybe bring in one or two forwards, we’ll certainly look at that.”

I’ll be joining The Instigators on Monday right at 10:00. It’s radio only and will go for five hours as NHL Free Agency begins at noon.  

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