The Sabres will not qualify Antipin, Wilson and Lehner

June 25, 2018 - 11:32 am

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - In addition to Robin Lehner, the Sabres will not give qualifying offers to Victor Antipin or Scott Wilson.

Jason Botterill said if they had qualified Wilson, he had arbitration rights so they decided to let him become an unrestricted free agent and try to sign him after July 1.

Antipin struggled to pick up Phil Housley’s system and becomes another Tim Murray idea that didn’t work. The Russian defenseman had to learn a new culture and a new language and Botterill said, “To be honest, we were really impressed with Victor and things didn’t go maybe as well as he wanted on the ice, but off the ice, he fit in with our locker-room extremely well and he was a player that came out and really struggled with the English language, but did all the lessons and I know he’s still looking for opportunities here in North America.”

Antipin got a contract that would not allow him to be sent to Rochester and it really hurt him when it was obvious he wasn't quite ready for the NHL.

Matt Moulson will not be in camp with the Sabres, but will remain with the organization for the final year of his contract. Botterill said, “We’ve been in touch with Matt throughout this entire process and we’ll work with him to try and find the best spot for him and we’ll see if something materializes on the trade front, but he won’t be back with our group next year.”

Lawrence Pilut was a European free agent signed from the SHL, but don't expect him in Buffalo to start. Botterill feels he needs to learn the North American game, “He’ll need some time. We’re going to give him a lot of an opportunity in training camp just to get some experience and he’s ahead of the curve just playing in the SHL and having a very successful year last year, but we’re not looking for him to make our team right out of training camp, we certainly hope that he pushes some people, but our goal is he’ll start in Rochester and move up from there.”

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