Satan a free agent after Sabres decline option

Updated: August 1, 2005, 8:48 AM ET
Associated Press

Miroslav Satan became an unrestricted free agent Sunday after the Buffalo Sabres declined to make a qualifying offer to the team's six-time scoring leader.

Miroslav Satan

By not qualifying Satan's $4 million contract for next season, general manager Darcy Regier said the Sabres can now use that money to address other needs, particularly on defense.

Another factor making Satan expendable was the Sabres' depth at forward -- a group that includes several young prospects projected to be ready next season.

"What it means is that you make choices," Regier said. "And the choices are that we have forwards, and we want to look at using the available resources as a means of bolstering our defense if possible."

Regier also noted that the team has depth at forward, including some up-and-coming prospects that could be ready to play in the NHL this season. That made it easier to part ways with Satan.

"I have a lot of respect for Miro. He's been a very good player for our organization," Regier said. "But we also believe that we have a number of young players that are really knocking at the door."

The NHL's free agency period opens Monday.

The Sabres also declined to make a qualifying offer to tough-guy forward Eric Boulton, a four-year veteran.

Satan, who represents himself in negotiations, was not available for comment.

Satan, a nine-year NHL veteran, was acquired by the Sabres from Edmonton late in the 1996-97 season.

In 2003-04, Satan led Buffalo with 29 goals and finished second with 57 points -- the only season he didn't lead the Sabres in that category.

A three-time 30-goal scorer, Satan had 224 goals and 232 assists for 456 points during his tenure in Buffalo. His ranks seventh on the team's career goals list and 10th in points.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press