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Sabres GM Jason Botterill: 'We don't have to make a trade'

A solution to the Buffalo Sabres' salary-cap situation might not come anytime soon.

General Manager Jason Botterill said Wednesday on WGR Radio's "The Instigators" program that he is not in a rush to make a trade to clear cap space. According to CapFriendly.com, the Sabres are currently $1.1 million over the salary-cap ceiling after signing restricted free agents Linus Ullmark and Jake McCabe.

Botterill noted that he could create space by placing one of his injured defensemen -- Zach Bogosian, Lawrence Pilut or Matt Hunwick -- on long-term injured reserve or sending a veteran with a one-way contract to Rochester.

"We like the situation we’re in right now," Botterill said. "We don’t have to make a trade to become cap compliant. We’ve gone over a zillion different scenarios. As much as the last couple weeks have been difficult weeks going through the salary arbitration process, what’s great about it is we have all the contracts done now. There’s no holdouts. We can focus in on how we’re going to get things going, and we’ll continue to have discussions with other teams on, ‘Hey, is there a trade that makes sense for us?’ "

A player is eligible to be placed on long-term injured reserve if he is determined to be unfit to play by the team's physician for a minimum of 24 days and 10 regular-season games. Bogosian (hip) and Pilut (shoulder) had surgery this offseason and are not expected to be ready for the season opener. Hunwick, meanwhile, had "a lot of injuries last year," according to Botterill.

Hunwick missed the start of the season because of a neck injury sustained last summer and was limited to 14 games with the Sabres.

The team is allowed to exceed the designated salary cap ceiling by as much as the cap hit of the contract for the player entering the LTIR. The value of the allowed overage is determined on the day that the player is moved to the LTIR, and the player continues to count towards the cap and continues to receive his salary.

Bogosian is set to count $5,142,857 against the Sabres' salary cap, while Hunwick will account for $2.25 million. Pilut, meanwhile, makes $925,000. A team must become cap compliant once a player is activated from long-term injured reserve.

Sending a player to Rochester could provide the Sabres with as much as $1.1 million in cap relief, Botterill said. Buffalo's surplus of forwards and defensemen makes this a possibility, though the team might be hesitant to have a veteran such as Vladimir Sobotka taking playing time away from prospects who are part of the Sabres' future plans.

Each American Hockey League team can have up to six skaters with more than 260 professional games played, which could create issues when deciding whether to send a veteran to Rochester or attempting to loan one to another AHL team.

Botterill acknowledged he knew the Sabres would be up against the salary cap after signing winger Marcus Johansson to a two-year, $9 million contract last month. However, Botterill wanted to add depth scoring and Johansson can play both wing positions.

Botterill noted that many players on his roster have such versatility, including Sobotka, though it's important to remember that the general manager made a similar comment about Alexander Nylander a few weeks prior to the former top draft pick being traded.

The Sabres also could take advantage of the buyout window afforded to teams after arbitration, though Botterill chose not take that option before the NHL draft in June.

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