The Sabres parted ways with South Buffalo native Tim Kennedy Tuesday after he cleared waivers and became an unrestricted free agent. Kennedy, who had 10 goals and 26 points in 78 games in his rookie season, had been awarded a $1 million contract after taking the Sabres to arbitration. The organization was apparently shocked by the value of the award and found themselves in a difficult position. The Sabres have an abundance of talented, undersized wingers on the roster and have other needs to address. Releasing Kennedy provides the Sabres with nearly $700K to spend elsewhere, such as signing Defenseman Shaone Morrison, who spent the last 5 seasons with the Washington Capitals. Morrison provides size and proven defensive skills which, along with the acquistion of Jordan Leopold, should help counteract the loss of veteran blue-liners Henrik Tallinder and Toni Lydman. Additionally, the Sabres still have wingers Nathan Gerbe and Tyler Ennis on the roster, who some would argue have a greater upside than Kennedy and a much lower price tag.
It is noteworthy that since Kennedy cleared waivers on Tuesday he has not been signed by any other NHL team. That might be the best evidence of all that the Sabres made the smart decision, as unpopular as it might be. If Kennedy was not a Buffalo native, I think fans would have trouble supporting a $1 million contract for a player of his caliber given the team’s other roster needs.