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RFA Gets Sweet FA

Could Sabres GM Darcy Regier have been staring at his teams new jersey too long?

Did he go for a swish in the Captain Morgan swill the night before?

This decision makes little to no sense at all!

Sabres winger J.P. Dumont was recently awarded a 2.9 M salary through arbitration and today the Sabres chose the walk away option. The salary award is hardly a ridiculous one, Dumont tallied stats of 20 goals and 20 assists in 48 games last season. Dumont has always been a reliable cog in the Sabres offense, finding the 20 goal plateau on four occasions, and ay 28 years of age still has a certain upside. Over the course of his tenure with the Sabres, his ice time has always average near the 15 minutes per game mark.

What gets me is that Buffalo has not opted for a sign and trade scenario.

Dumont has been a goal scorer since his junior days and placed with the right centerman his totals would surely be elevated. Playing with Daniel Briere last season allowed both to seemingly be on the way to career seasons before injuries interupted better stats. Arbitration awarded Briere a tidy 5M per for 58 pts in 48 games. The tandem surely would have had success again this coming year.

It would have made sense to have them pair up, get hot them maximize that value on the trade market. Dumont could have yielded a decent prospect from the likes of the Pittsburgh organization, for one.

Perhaps there are some hidden issues at hand, who knows?

Dumont has been given up for next to nothing twice before.

Originally drafted by the New York Islanders, the winger was sent along with a 5th round pick to Chicago for Dmitri Nabokov, May 30, 1998. He had just capped off a stellar junior season with the Val-Dor Foreurs of the QMJHL with 57 goals and 42 assists in 55 games. He was more impessive in the playoffs adding 31 goals and 15 assists in 19 games. This obviously didn't faze Isles GM Mad Mike MIlbury (what does?) as he sent Dumont to Chicago for Nabokov who'd notched mere totals of 7-4-11 in 25 games with the Hawks.

On March 10, 2000, the equally visionary Hawks GM Mike Smith sent Dumont off to Buffalo with Doug Gilmour for Micheal Grosek. Dumont had been playing in the minors at that point registering a point per game. Both deals must had him shaking his head!

Perhaps it is the scenario of a rough negotiation with Goalie Ryan Miller that has the Sabres brass tightening the purse strings. Projected backup and future trade bait Martin Biron has been caught in a waiting game, as he expects to be dealt at anytime. It would have been logical, with as many as ten RFA's to sort through, that Buffalo deal with the case of Miller ( ! ) first.

How this "walk away" plays out remains to be seen. It's doubtful Dumont will get close to the salary he was awarded with any team who signs him. How quick he is snapped up, will measure the extent of the Sabres goof on this one. If they are clued in, they ought to be negotiating with the player to try and keep him in the GM neighborhood. It just might work for them after all. I'm sure GM's league wide are checking their pockets books with their other hand on a cell for the next few days.

Wouldn't Regier just fume if Dumont lands in the Northeast division. Ottawa would be a nice fit.