The move for Lashoff looks like a simple salary dump by the Lightning; they don't have to pay the $550,000 to play in the minors, while we will gladly pay that in order to open up some space to make a signing and provide even more depth on the AHL team back-end.
I think the obvious play is Tim Kennedy. Only 24 years old who had a decent first full season in the NHL last year. You gotta think that the most we would have to sign this guy is 1 mm (amount awarded in arbitration), although given some of the signings this UFA season (Torres comes to mind) i'm thinking he can be had for even less. Looking back at his career statistics he was a point a game player through his NCAA days and just shy of that in his one full season of the AHL.
His offensive stats aside, his profile over at hockeyfutures notes his strong defensive play and willingness to take the body, qualities that Big Bad Burke likes in a player (not to mention his American heritage).
It seems that the Sabres writers were pretty upset with letting this guy go. Not that I trust/like what the writers have to say but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt given that I am sure they have watched this guy play way more than I have. Although I do recall some small forward on the Sabres taking it to the Leafs last season. (I hope I'm not confusing TK with one of the other million undersized forwards the Sabres have).
The decision by the Sabres to let this guy go is an obvious result of the cap era taking shape as well as their ridiculous young depth on the offensive side of the puck (ennis & gerbe being the prime suspects). A guy this young and with a decent amount of upside usually isn't available in the UFA pool; signing this guy seems like the move to make.
Throw in the likelihood that we can probably lock him up for under 1 mm; 1 mm at the max and I think it's a lock that we will see this guy in a Leaf uniform within the next couple of weeks. Who knows, maybe we can even get this guy on a 2 way contract.
My only reservation with making this signing is where TK fits in with the team and furthermore which player he takes a spot away from. I envision him right now on the Leafs roster fitting in on either the 2nd or 3rd line. Adding to our PK depth and maybe a couple shifts on the PP from time to time. If he's taking a spot from Caputi/Mitchell/Hanson i'm fine with it, if he's taking it from Kadri...no thanks.
Whatever the case, he brings some more depth and more competition come camp; and if he can be had on a two-way contract (pretty sure I read that somewhere)...we got a steal.