BUFFALO – Before the Sabres terminated Zach Bogosian’s contract, general manager Jason Botterill said the team tried on its own and worked with the defenseman to find a solution.
“It didn’t materialize,” Botterill said Monday inside KeyBank Center.
So the Sabres cut ties with Bogosian, 29, on Friday, putting him on termination waivers after he was suspended for refusing to report the Rochester Americans. The Sabres originally waived the Massena native Feb. 14.
On Sunday, Bogosian signed a one-year, $1.3 million contract with the heavyweight Tampa Bay Lightning, the Sabres’ Atlantic Division rival.
“I’m extremely excited that Zach has a new opportunity in an excellent organization in Tampa Bay,” Botterill said. “From a timing standpoint, we tried to find a solution with him in private.”
Botterill said he knows there will always be a discussion about players “that may not be excited about being in Buffalo.”
Still, winger Wayne Simmonds waived his no-trade clause to leave the New Jersey Devils and join the Sabres before Monday’s trade deadline.
“You talk to the bulk of our players, there’s an enthusiasm about what’s being created in our locker room, and just the dialogue that they’re having with the coaching staff,” Botterill said. “I think you realize in interacting with Ralph (Krueger), he’s a fairly upbeat and positive gentleman and he’s excited about where this group is going.”
Botterill said bonuses will give the Sabres a salary cap overage at the end of the year. But instead of shedding money, he wanted to keep the team together.
“We didn’t want to break this team apart,” he said. “We just didn’t feel it was the time from that standpoint. We looked at different scenarios in our planning perspective but we know we’re going to have an overage next season.
“But on the positive side, the overage is coming because our young defensemen continue to develop and, to be honest, we hope our young defensemen hit all their performance bonuses because it means that they’re going in the right direction with their games.”
Botterill said the Sabres sent defenseman John Gilmour and goalie Jonas Johansson to the Amerks so they can be eligible to play in the AHL playoffs.
The moves are paper transactions.
Botterill said Sabres haven’t had any contract extension talks with Simmonds’ camp.
Simmonds, who was acquired in exchange for a conditional fifth-round pick in 2021, will be an unrestricted free agent following the season.
“I talked to his agent just about the situation before and our understanding is there’s no contract in the mix,” Botterill said. “The focus right now is on what our plan was for the next few weeks here and what our focus was going to be today.
“You know our numbers, we certainly have openings at forward moving forward here and we’re certainly going to have opportunities and roster spots available. I think that’s what he’s looking for; he’s looking to play meaningful games and he’s also looking for an opportunity if he plays well there might be a future.”