The Buffalo Sabres took care of some unfinished business on the opening day of training camp, signing defenseman Rasmus Dahlin to a three-year, $18 million contract ($6 million AAV).
The 2018 first overall pick struggled in third season with Buffalo under head coach Ralph Krueger, but his improved dramatically under Don Granato, who was hired this summer after finishing off last season as the interim coach.
“(Granato’s ) way to play was how I learned to play hockey,” Dahlin said after the season. “But the thing I felt was that he trusted me as a player. He really saw what my potential was, and I felt comfortable playing out there. I wasn’t thinking too much.”
The 21-year-old posted 84 points in his first two seasons with the Sabres, but saw his numbers decline to 23 points (5 goals, 18 assists) in 56 games last season.
IT’S DONE! 👊
We’ve agreed to terms with Rasmus Dahlin on a three-year contract with an AAV of $6 million.
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) September 22, 2021
The deal is the same length as other Sabres restricted free agents Henri Jokiharju and Casey Mittelstadt (three years at $2.5 million AAV) signed this summer, but those players not getting long-term extensions is understandable since have not established their worth in the NHL.
Wrestling: WWE Remains In Denial About AEW
Dahlin is a cornerstone player that franchises build around and usually lock up for six-to-eight years for big money, but either the Sabres were hesitant to make that kind of investment in the wake of the Jack Eichel situation or Dahlin’s representatives were wary of committing to Buffalo long term due to the current state of the franchise.
At the end of the contract, Dahlin will be a restricted free agent, one year from being unrestricted; the same place that the Sabres found themselves at with leading scorer Sam Reinhart and defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen this summer. GM Kevyn Adams was forced to move both players before they left on the open market, and if Buffalo’s fortunes do not improve over the next three years, that may end up being the case with Dahlin.