The Buffalo Sabres met their goaltending needs early Sunday morning as they signed Carter Hutton and Scott Wedgewood to deals that were announced right around the same time. As per Elliotte Friedman, Hutton’s deal is a three-year contract with Wedgewood providing backup as an organizational number three netminder. Hutton will be paid just under $3 million per season while the terms of Wedgewood’s are believed to be much more in line with an AHL netminder who will get a peek in the NHL from time to time.
Many are seeing this as the best opportunity for Hutton who had a lot of interest as free agency approached.
It had been rumored for days that the Buffalo Sabres were zeroing in on Hutton as their netminder of choice and while this deal represents a large raise for the 32-year-old, it is believed by some he left money on the table from other organizations to ensure his opportunity at being a starter in the NHL. The Sabres had let Robin Lehner walk in free agency when he wasn’t qualified by the team and Hutton was rumored to be the Sabres target to replace him. A three-year deal represents the fact the Sabres believe they have found their man.
Hutton was arguably the strongest goaltending option on the open market after another excellent season in St. Louis. Hutton posted a .931 save percentage in 32 appearances with the Blues and had often been used to push young goaltenders while providing solid numbers himself. This time around, he’ll be asked to work with Linus Ullmark who the Sabres hope can be their netminder of the future, but he’s the man for the next few seasons as the Sabres expect to be a much more competitive team with Hutton in net. The organization has added players like young defensive superstar Rasmus Dahlin to the team via the NHL Entry Draft and earlier in the week, the Sabres also picked up Conor Sheary and Matt Hunwick from the Penguins.
It is not expected that they are done in free agency with more available cap space and a roster that isn’t quite full yet.
Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet also reported that the team will sign Scott Wedgewood, giving them a third option behind Hutton and Ullmark. His deal is a two-way deal meant to serve as the No. 1 man in Rochester for the Sabres AHL affiliate and provide insurance behind Hutton and Linus Ullmark. That’s numbers aren’t confirmed but they are expected to be in the $425,000 range for the AHL and $700,000 for the NHL.
Some speculation Scott Wedgewood signing with #Sabres….gets really good number. $450,000 on two-way
— Andy Strickland (@andystrickland) July 1, 2018
Wedgewood, 25, originally cleared waivers with New Jersey at the start of the year, was flipped to the Arizona Coyotes and played as their backup for a good portion of the season. In his 20 games with Arizona, he put up a 3.45 GAA and a .893 SV% before being moved to the Kings as part of the Darcy Kuemper deal where he was once again waived and sent to the minors.
The Sabres are likely finished with their goaltending moves for the summer and will go back to free agency to focus on forwards and potentially moving Ryan O’Reilly which has been a move near the top of the rumor charts for weeks.
Jim Parsons is a freelance writer who covers the Edmonton Oilers and news and rumors posts here at The Hockey Writers.
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