A consistent and totally reasonable request by Sabres fans this offseason is for the team to use a buyout on Zach Bogosian's contract. His buyout terms are so favorable to the team that it's essentially a no-brainer. However, I'm not sure it's as big a no-brainer as we think it is.
Before we begin, let's take a look at Bogosian's buyout figures via CapFriendly.com.
Cap Friendly provides a lot of good information here, but the most important figure for us is that far right column that shows the buyout cap hit year by year.
18/19 - $1,142,857
19/20 - $1,142,857
20/21 - $2,000,000
21/22 - $2,000,000
Considering the $5,142,857 cap hit he currently carries, this buyout cap hit is a huge savings. Here the thing, I don't expect the Sabres to be up against the salary cap ceiling in 2018/2019
The Salary Cap is expected to jump close to $80,000,000 for the 2018/2019 season and even if the Sabres make a huge signing like John Tavares (doubtful), they still won't be in danger of breaching the Salary Cap in 18/19.
My suggestion is that they wait one more season before they consider buying out Bogosian.
The buyout cap hit is even more favorable in 2019
If the Sabres wait just one year to enact a buyout, the cap hit will only last 2 seasons and be off the books after the 20/21 season. The salary cap concerns will likely come into play as their young players finish their entry level deals and sign larger long term contracts. Even though the buyout cap hit isn't that much, the Sabres should hopefully be competitive in the 20/21 and 21/22 seasons, and I think the team would really like to have an additional $2,000,000 available to them. $2,000,000 is basically 2 entry level players that I believe the Sabres will need to utilize on the margins in order to afford big contract players like Eichel and presumably Mittelstadt and Dahlin.
He's an NHL quality defenseman
I know a lot of people aren't big fans of him, but Zach Bogosian is a legitimate NHL level defenseman, something the Sabres aren't exactly flush with in the organization. Hopefully the young defensemen in the organization will be good enough to surpass him this year, but Buffalo isn't currently in a position to be getting rid of NHL defenseman for nothing.
Competition is good
Even with Dahlin entering the fold and presumably a few other new defenseman, there is still a lot of improvement needed on the back end. Bogosian's biggest problem is his inability to stay healthy, but in my opinion when he is healthy he is a decent piece in Phill Housley's system. He's got good enough speed and offensive instincts to fit in on the second or third pairing. So having him in training camp competing and forcing other players to step up and really earn a spot on the team is a good thing. If guys like McCabe, Guhle, or Nelson can't beat him out for a spot then it's their own fault.
I know Sabres fans are anxious to clear out as much junk from the last few years, and I don't blame them for that, but I think it's important to think long term when it comes to cap ramifications, because worrying about the salary cap will be far more import in 2 or 3 years than it is now. The Sabres are in a good position to leverage the cap space they have now in order to put themselves in a better situation going forward, so there's little need to waste that cap space on a needless buyout that could end up being more difficult to deal with in a few years than we may be expecting.