Tim Kennedy Attempts To Survive Buffalo Thriftiness

Boston Bruins left wing Shawn Thornton (22) trips up Buffalo Sabres left wing Tim Kennedy (13) during the Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals at the HSBC Arena in Buffalo, NY.

You really kind of have to feel bad for Tim Kennedy.

Kennedy was bought out by the Buffalo Sabres, his hometown team, after they didn’t want to give him the contract he won in arbitration.

Signed by the New York Rangers in the past off-season, Kennedy was never really given a chance to make the team and spent most of this season in the AHL.

That is until he was traded to the Florida Panthers, who also kept him in the AHL.

He was eventually called up for three games before being returned to the AHL.

Kennedy is getting another shot at the NHL, though, and is expected to play in the final three games of Florida’s season.

Kennedy’s career numbers, as few as there are, are hardly breath-taking, but are intriguing.

After playing one NHL game during the 2008-09 season, Kennedy played 78 NHL games for Buffalo, putting up 10 goals and 16 assists with a -3 +/- while mostly playing on Buffalo’s checking line.

It was enough to earn Kennedy a million dollar, one year contract in arbitration that Buffalo walked away from.

Kennedy’s been waived a few times with no takers. But why not?

Mostly, it seems like it might be bad luck.

The Sabres bought out his contract mostly because of salary concerns. It seems that maybe his GM and coach didn’t agree with the decision to let him go.

He was then signed by a team that is insanely deep with third line players — the New York Rangers. He wasn’t able to catch on with the Rangers because he wasn’t a true rookie but he wasn’t a true veteran. I suspect the Rangers feared he was too established to be molded but too young and inexperienced to help younger players.

And now, with almost a year out of the NHL, he’s trying to make a splash with the Panthers, which will be tough, given that he was just starting to develop more of an offensive game just about a year ago.

I don’t think Kennedy is going to be some kind of NHL star, but given his speed and his tenacity, it seems like he could eventually become a 20-goal scorer. He’s a young player who seems to have a lot of upside. His AHL numbers confirm that.

And sadly, it’s been quite a while since he’s been able to show it off. At least at the NHL level.

Hopefully, three more games will be enough for Kennedy to show what he might be able to do for an NHL team next year.

It’s sad to think a promising NHL career might have been destroyed because the Sabres cheaped out on retaining a talented player.