Sabres look to bolster offense during the offseason

With July 1 right around the corner, the Buffalo Sabres might need to look behind their own prospect pool to try and become a legitimate contender during the 2012-2013 season.

The Sabres need offense. The team's goaltending and defense are solid, but only having three players reach the 20-goal plateau doesn't put a team in the playoffs.

With a little more than 11.5 million to spend during this summer the Sabres will be looking for some offense to try and help Ryan Miller and the defense core.

There are a number of free agents available who every team will be drooling over, including Alexander Semin, Oli Jokinen, and P.A Parenteau.

With Zack Parise stating that he'd like to remain a Devil, that all but leaves it up to money to decide if that is the case. The aforementioned forwards would be all be great acquisitions. However, they all come with question marks.

Semin, who has never played a full 82-game schedule in the NHL, is coming off of a second consecutive 54-point season with 28 and 21 goals respectively. These aren't the numbers you'd expect from a top-15 pick and not what he's posted in in years past. So, the question remains -- does he needs a new start or has he become a steady 20-goal scorer?

Oli Jokinen has seen his production drop quite a bit as well. Even though he has picked up his play during the past two seasons, he has continued to be a minus player. That's something the Sabres will try to avoid during this upcoming season as the team as a whole was a minus 12.

Jokinen's 21 goals and 61 points last season will still make him an attractive player on the market.

P.A Parenteau, finally got his chance with an NHL team (the New York Islanders) for a full season last year. He certainly took advantage of playing with two of the leagues rising stars in John Tavares and Matt Moulson.

He racked up 49 assists, good for 12th in the league last season. He could be the playmaker that Buffalo needs. NHL observers have seen Parenteau’s numbers improve over the past two full NHL seasons (missing only three games during those two years).

There is little doubt he'll be a sought after forward this Sunday. Though, like Parise, stated he would like to stay with his present team.

Players such as Bobby Ryan, Rick Nash, and countless others have also been said to be available for trade. However, it will ultimately be up to those players with no trade clauses where they decide they want to play and waive it.

Another issue is that no team wants to give up too much for a trade, which is something that many general managers have been saying in pursuit of Rick Nash. Once compensation is figured out, a team must look at what they can afford and how much of a cap hit the player is per season.

Teams will survey the contract by year, not necessarily as a whole. This is because contract value tends to fluctuate depending on the length of the contract.

Looking through the available free agents and possible trades, it seems there will be only one or two relatively young forwards the Sabres could add.

As an organization, they are looking to be competitive for the long term and won’t be signing players or trading for a quick fix. They’ve built a strong team in front of Miller, and with the 12th overall pick in the draft have a strong prospect pool with their most recent selection of Russian center Mikhail Grigorenko from the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts.

Grigorenko is committed to the University of Vermont for next season.

With two days left until the frenzy, think of some players you’d love to see the Sabres acquire while keeping in mind what Herb Brooks said, “I'm not looking for the best players. I'm looking for the right ones.”