Big news from the Sabres this evening on the free agent front: Winger Drew Stafford has signed a multi-year deal, thus avoiding the potential of what could have been a costly arbitration case.
The deal is for four years and $16 million, The News has learned.
Stafford, 25, was set to become a restricted free agent after finishing with career highs in goals (31) and points (52) last season in 62 games. He had just one goal and two assists in the playoff series against Philadelphia.
"It was important for us to get Drew locked up,” GM Darcy Regier said in a statement the team released Friday night. "What we saw from Drew this season is exactly what we envisioned when we drafted him [as a first-round pick in 2004]. Drew will continue to be an important part of our team in the coming years."
Stafford had completed a two-year, $3.8 million deal and was likely looking at a big arbitration award if he did not come to terms with the team. He was the big name on a list of seven Sabres RFAs that also includes Jhonas Enroth, Nathan Gerbe, Chris Butler, Marc-Andre Gragnani, Andrej Sekera and Mike Weber.