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Double-Edged Sabres

The price of success is rarely cheap, and the Buffalo Sabres are learning that lesson the hard way. While yesterday they announced the re-signing of defenseman Dmitri Kalinin to a two-year deal, leaving only goaltender Ryan Miller left to consider, the Sabres are going to pay roughly 50 percent more in player salaries this upcoming season, despite not landing any significant acquisitions, and letting J.P. Dumont and Jay McKee leave via free agency.

From the article at TSN:
Buffalo had a payroll of approximately $29 million last season but still advanced to the Eastern Conference finals, where they lost to the Carolina Hurricanes in seven games.

But the cost of re-signing restricted free agents moved the payroll closer to the $44 million salary cap for 2006-07.

Making it to the Eastern Conference finals is a fine achievement, but a 50% increase in pay? It looks like this is a classic case of the Boiling Frog. Each individual signing may have seemed like the right thing to do at the time, but looking at this team, with this salary, the label "overachieving" can be changed to "underachieving" awfully quickly. Anything less than a trip to the Stanley Cup finals will be looked at as a disappointment, which is unfair given the youth on this roster, but that's what happens when Early Success meets up with Fat Contracts.