BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) ?
The Buffalo Sabres have retained the rights to three key restricted free agents by extending qualifying offers to forwards Drew Stafford and Clarke MacArthur and defenseman Andrej Sekera.
General manager Darcy Regier made the announcement on Monday, hours before a 5 p.m. deadline for teams to make offers to their restricted free agents.
The Sabres will now be able to match any potential offer made to these players by another team when the NHL free agency period begins on Wednesday.
Stafford, 23, was Buffalo’s third-leading scorer with 20 goals this past season, while MacArthur posted 31 points in 71 games.
The 23-year-old Sekera played in 69 games in his first full season with the Sabres.
It’s almost non-news, as the move only allows the Sabres to match any RFA offers the three players may get. I think Stafford is the most likely candidate for that sort of thing, but Darcy hasn’t shown much urgency in getting these three signed. I expect all three to be Sabres next season, and honestly signing Sekera is the biggest concern. Who knows what his contract expectations are at this point.