The first of the Buffalo Sabres' four arbitration hearings is set for Tuesday in Toronto with center Evan Rodrigues, and the sides are apparently more than $1 million apart.
Rodrigues had nine goals and 20 assists in 74 games last season to set career highs in each category. He is asking for a huge raise, from $650,000 to $2.65 million. The Sabres are still offering a sizable bump in salary, but only to $1.5 million. The figures were reported Sunday by Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman.
Rodrigues, 25, is likely to serve as the Sabres' No. 3 center next season and is Buffalo's top restricted free agent forward. The Sabres also have arbitration hearings scheduled with forward Remi Elie (Aug. 1), goalie Linus Ullmark (Aug. 2) and defenseman Jake McCabe (Aug. 4).
According to CapFriendly.com, the team is down to just over $5.1 million in cap space. Rodrigues and Elie would become forwards 13-14 under contract while McCabe would be the ninth defenseman, so the Sabres are certain to move some players to free up roster spots and cap space.