The Sabres made a wise move by extending young defenseman Tyler Myers for seven years and $38.5 million. That's an average $5.5 million salary for a gifted D who figures to be an All-Star and team anchor for years to come. If revenues and salaries continue to rise in the NHL -- a reasonable assumption based on trends in pro sports -- it will look like a bargain down the road.
Think about it. In the dark days of the Golisano era, a $5.5 million salary could have kept the likes of Daniel Briere, Brian Campbell and Chris Drury in Buffalo. They all wound up signing for much more as unrestricted free agents. That was five years ago. It's hard to say what Myers could have fetched if he had decided to play out his deal and hit the free market in another year. It would have been more than $5.5 million, and a lot more if Myers had another season like he did as a rookie. And who knows what $5.5 milllion will look like five or six years from now in the NHL?
Terry Pegula means business. He also knows it's good business to lock up your stars early, instead of waiting for their bargaining power to soar with the market. That's a lesson that was lost on Golisano in the first years of unrestricted NHL free agency.
The Bills should pay attention, too. This deal puts even more pressure on them to take care of their underpaid stars. The Sabres didn't want Myers to play another year while being compensated well below his talent and achievements. The longer the Bills do that to Ryan Fitzpatrick, Stevie Johnson and Fred Jackson, the worse it looks.