It’s been awhile since we’ve had a legitimate hockey post, but then I received a text message that woke me up this morning. The Sabres have agreed to a contract with Drew Stafford.
Mike Harrington reports that it’s a two-year deal, but how much it’s worth is still a mystery. It’s certainly more than the $984,000/year deal he’s coming off of. It’s probably at least double that.
(UPDATE: The deal is worth $3.8 million total. Stafford will make $1.5 million this year and $2.3 million next season. Not a bad deal.)
A quick look at the depth chart would lead you to believe Stafford is the Sabres top right winger going into the season. Optimists will tell you Jason Pominville will bounce back and that’s entirely possible, but Stafford should be the go-to guy on the right side for now.
The former first-round pick scored a career-high 20 goals and 45 points in 79 games last season. In three seasons, Stafford has scored 110 points in 184 games. He’s known to disappear for stretches and has yet to use his size consistently.
The fears of him becoming the American Kotalik intensify when you see him score on that backhand shot in the shootout. Being the American Kotalik may not necessarily be a bad thing, though, if all you expect from him are 20 goals and 15 games off a year.
The Sabres are going to need him to be more than that and staying on the first line with Derek Roy and Thomas Vanek should provide him the opportunity to eclipse his career-highs from a year ago.