Sabres Demote Two, Become Cap Compliant

By Patrick Powell

On Friday, the Buffalo Sabres waived forward Ales Kotalik and defenseman Shaone Morrisonn. We have learned Monday evening that both players have cleared waivers, and that the club has assigned both players to AHL Rochester. Consequently, the Sabres have cut their salary cap liability for this season by over $5 million to $62.862 million, which is $1.438 million below the cap limit. The Sabres now have an active roster consisting of 13 forwards, 7 defensemen, and 2 goaltenders. They have 2 additional forwards and 1 additional goaltender still on their training camp roster.

Kotalik and Morrisonn were unsurprising casualties due to their high cap hits relative to their perceived values to the team.

Kotalik, a Sabres’ draft pick in 1998, reached his plateau (to date) in goals (25) and points (62) in the 2005-2006 campaign. Due to his inability to find the net consistently, Kotalik has made a complete circle back to the Sabres after being dealt to the Edmonton Oilers in 2009 and serving stints with the New York Rangers and Calgary Flames. Kotalik’s last action in the NHL came last season in which he tallied 4 times in 26 games.

Shaone Morrisonn was a first round draft pick of the Boston Bruins in 2001. He has played the bulk of his NHL career with the Washington Capitals. He is a prototypical stay-at-home defenseman who has developed a reputation as being defensively responsible. In his five full seasons with the Washington Capitals, Morrisonn was a plus player while typically drawing the assignments of number 1 offensive lines. Last season, he provided veteran leadership on the Sabres’ blue line. In 62 games, he tallied 5 points and played at a -2 clip. He played in 1 of the Sabres’ 7 playoff games last spring. With the emergence of youngsters Tyler Myers and Marc-Andre Gragnani on the Sabres’ blue line and the additions of veterans Robyn Regehr and Christian Ehrhoff (both of whom command healthy salaries), there was no room at the inn for Morrisonn.

Patrick Kaleta and Brad Boyes are the 2 roster players believed to be on the proverbial hot seat with Luke Adam and Matt Ellis playing well for the Sabres in camp thusfar. Boyes’ suspension, which will run the last 2 games of the pre-season, may hinder his opportunity to keep his roster spot.

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