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Sabres Lock Up Myers

As predicted the Sabres announced the signing of defenceman Tyler Myers to a 7 year, 38.5$ million dollar contract extension today. Myers, who was set to become a restricted free-agent at the end of the 2011-2012 season, will receive a 10$mil signing bonus on July 1st 2012, the day his entry level contract expires, and the new extension kicks in. Myers will be 29 years old when the contract ends, ensuring that Buffalo is able to keep him in blue and gold at least 2 years of his un-restricted free agent eligible years. The signing comes on the heels of Zack Bogosian, John Tavares, and Brad Marchand all signing multi-year contracts with their respective clubs.

Darcy Regier and company should be applauded for taking the proactive route and locking up their own young talent prior to Tyler becoming an RFA and avoiding the mess LA and Toronto are in dealing with Doughty and Schenn. Owner Terry Pegula has said that it was Myers who first opened up talks with the Sabres expressing his desire to sign a long term deal with the team that drafted him 12th overall in 2008. This is yet another example of the culture change that has taken place Buffalo since the ownership change. Pegula's belief in winning, and his actions in reinforcing that belief is making the Sabres a destination for players looking for stability, and a home for young talent coming through the pipeline. Not a place of transition or a launching pad, as it had been in years past.

Now that Myers is locked up long term, could he be the next team captain? To me Thomas Vanek still seems the more logical choice as he seemed to relish the responsibility of leading the team last season after Derek Roy's injury. However, in the long term Myers may be the more traditional fit to be captain, in the Lidstrom or Pronger mold. Sure he has a long way to go to be mentioned in the same breath as the aforementioned, however the Sabres are counting on him to be that kind of anchor on the back end, and if both Vanek and Myers are going to be here long term it would make more sense to make Tyler the captain now than to give Thomas the "C" for a season or two and then take it away from him to give to Myers. My bet is Tyler Myers becomes the first Sabres draft pick to be named captain since Jason Pominville wore the "C" in rotation during the 2008 season.

I can't remember a season with so much anticipation as this one. The off-season has seen Buffalo be crafty with trades (acquiring Regehr, and Ehrhoff's rights), be big players on the free agent market (signing Leino), and make commitments to their own talent (Stafford, Myers). In addition the talent in waiting has continued to impress as the Sabres rookies, led by first year Amerks coach Ron Rolston, just wrapped up winning the Traverse City Tournament posting a 3-1 record and defeating the Rangers 5-2 in the final. With the likes Zack Kassian, Luke Adam, Corey Tropp, Marcus Foligno, T.J. Brennan, Brayden McNabb, Mark Pysyk, Joel Armia, and Drew Schiestel on the way, the excitement in Hockey Heaven is only beginning.

Lastly I want to say I am thrilled to hear Teemu Selanne has returned for another season. There are few players in the league I have more respect for than Teemu, such a humble player and as exciting to watch as he was 19 years ago when he set the rookie record with 76 goals. I am looking forward to the puck dropping on 10/7 in Helsinki, with Teemu getting to play in front of his native Finland against Buffalo where I'm sure the Sabres 2011 first round pick Joel Armia will be in attendance getting a first hand look at the team he hopes to play for in the near future.

Brandon Hess
Follow me on Twitter @SabreHess

1 comment:

  1. Since posting this Luke Schenn has signed a 5 year contract with Toronto reportedly worth 3.6$mil per season. Only 1.9$mil more for Myers...I'll take that deal any day.