The Buffalo Sabres had already made news when they revealed they would not qualify goaltender Robin Lehner, and today while introducing Rasmus Dahlin to the media GM Jason Botterill was up front about a few other decisions. Joe Yerdon of NHL.com reports that the team will not qualify Victor Antipin or Scott Wilson, though they will attempt to re-sign the latter on July 1st after avoiding arbitration. The team will also not buy out Matt Moulson, but instead try to find a landing spot for him either through a trade to an NHL team or another AHL loan.
Antipin apparently would rather stay in the NHL than return to Russia, but after 47 fairly unspectacular games with the Sabres it’s not clear what his market would be. The 25-year old defenseman recorded 10 points in those games, and showed flashes of being a capable two-way defenseman. If he’s willing to take a two-way contract there will likely be several teams willing to take a chance, but a multi-year deal might be out of the question.
Wilson, acquired midseason from the Detroit Red Wings, ended up with 14 points in 49 games for the Sabres and looked like an effective bottom-six player. Avoiding arbitration will allow them to cap whatever contract offers they believe are fair, and not end up with a contract that is more expensive than they’re willing to pay. Nothing is guaranteed, but the team seems optimistic about getting a deal done.