Alexander Sulzer spent nearly five seasons trying to fit in with an NHL team. After getting dealt to the Buffalo Sabres in February, the defenseman finally found his match.
The Sabres felt the connection, too.
Sulzer and the Sabres have agreed to a one-year contract extension worth $725,000. Sulzer, who was set to become an unrestricted free agent July 1, earned $700,000 last season while splitting time between Vancouver and Buffalo.
His season took off when he was shipped to the Sabres with center Cody Hodgson for right wing Zack Kassian and defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani at the trade deadline. Sulzer had been a healthy scratch for more than six weeks for the Canucks, but an injury allowed him to join the Buffalo lineup.
He responded by playing 15 games for the Sabres, recording three goals, eight points and a plus-2 rating. Sulzer, who turns 28 next week, spent most of his time skating alongside fellow German Olympian Christian Ehrhoff.
Sulzer missed the Sabres' final two games after getting called home to Nashville for a personal emergency.
"I did meet with Alex after the season, and he expressed a hope to be back," Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier said last month. "He is someone we would like to bring back as well. That’s something that we’ll look to do."
The 6-foot-1, 204-pound Sulzer has played 89 NHL games with Nashville, Florida, Vancouver and Buffalo. He has four goals, 12 assists and 16 points.
The signing gives the Sabres eight defensemen under contract for next season: Tyler Myers, Robyn Regehr, Ehrhoff, Jordan Leopold, Andrej Sekera, Mike Weber, Brayden McNabb and Sulzer. Blue-liner T.J. Brennan will be a restricted free agent.