In today's Buffalo News, Bucky Gleason offered his spin on the situations surrounding the Sabres pair of talented collegians, Nathan Gerbe and Tim Kennedy.
Sabres prospects dangle With every day that passes without a contract agreement, the chances increase that Sabres prospect Nathan Gerbe is headed back to college for his senior year. If he plays out his final season, he’s as good as gone. You would think the Sabres learned their lessons over the past few years, but they continue jerking around their players. They could end up alienating — and losing — Gerbe and South Buffalo native Tim Kennedy if both players decide to get tough in negotiations. And they would have every right. Gerbe led the nation in scoring, led his team to a national championship, was the best player in the Frozen Four and was selected to play for Team USA in the world championships. He’s going to play in the NHL. He shouldn’t accept less than the maximum allowed for rookies, or $850,000 a year. And you wonder why players don’t want to deal with these guys. Kennedy is in a similar position. He led Michigan State to a national title the previous year and led the Spartans in scoring two straight years. Sources said recent contract talks stalled after the Sabres made a lowball offer. We’ll see if he elects to play out his senior year and become a UFA. Both would find plenty of suitors.Can Gleason verify that the Sabres have not made, or will not make, a "bona fide" offer to Gerbe? Either way, I don't read the Gerbe situation so much about money as it is his desire to finish out his college years. He was considered an academic longshot entering Boston College, and I have little issue with Gerbe pursuing his degree if it's indeed a personal milestone. The argument can be made that the talented gunner has little to prove by returning to school, that he can always finish school during summer months. An equally compelling argument can be made that being in college is a unique time of your life that should be consumed to the max. It's likely he'd spend most, if not all, of next season in the AHL. Good luck with your decision, Nate. The Kennedy situation seems a little different. I've also heard that this is a money issue, but I'm concerned about how much leverage the Kennedy camp has right now. The Spartan senior-to-be deserves to be compensated more than a typical 6th round pick, but I don't expect him to sign a deal greater than what a player like Clarke MacArthur garnered when he left the Dub (600-650K range). Perhaps the sticking point is the non-NHL salary portion of the deal, since that has the most immediate impact on a young man cutting short his education to turn pro.