Darcy Regier said he examined the trade market and took a look ahead at this summer's free agent market. The most appealing player he saw was already on his roster.
After deciding that, it was just a matter of agreeing to terms with center Tim Connolly. The result is a two-year, $9 million contract extension that will keep Connolly with the Buffalo Sabres.
Regier followed today's signing by bolstering his goaltending depth, acquiring Mikael Tellqvist from Phoenix in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 2010 entry draft.
Connolly was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after the season. The option was there to trade the 27-year-old, but Regier's first choice was to re-sign the talent but oft-injured center. It took a raise of $1 million per year to do it.
"For us, it is better than a trade,'' Regier said today. "I think when you look at anything that is available in the summer, anything that is available right now on the trade market, in order to keep Tim here, not to give up any assets to acquire someone like Tim, I think it's a terrific day for the Sabres organization.''
Connolly has 11 goals and 26 points in 29 games this season. Fractured vertebrae in his back and broken rib combined to keep out for 34 games.
"The team's always been there to support me,'' said Connolly, who missed nearly two full seasons because of concussions. "We've put that behind us now, and moving forward on the ice I'm feeling as good as I ever have.''
The 29-year-old Tellqvist has played 15 games for the Coyotes. He is 7-5-1 with a 2.86 goals-against average and .907 save percentage. He was with the Coyotes in Boston, and the Sabres hoped to have him in town this afternoon. The Sabres host Montreal tonight in HSBC Arena.
The addition of a goalie was expected. Starter Ryan Miller is out indefinitely with a sprained ankle. Patrick Lalime has performed well in Miller's absence, but an injury to Lalime would leave the crease to rookie Jhonas Enroth, who has never played an NHL game.
Additionally, the Sabres will play three games in four nights four times down the stretch. The workload would be too much for one goaltender. Slip-ups are not acceptable with the Sabres in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, three points out of a playoff spot.
"We felt it was very important given the schedule and the uncertainty of Ryan's situation,'' Regier said. "We wanted to make sure that we brought back support for the hockey club and specifically Patrick Lalime.''