For Stanley Cup finalists, Tampa Bay and Montreal, it was the shortest offseason in NHL history at just 80 days. The Buffalo Sabers, of course, are used to long offseason. Their last is now over.
What the NHL hopes will be the first 82-game game since 2018-19 officially opens on league venues on Wednesday as players show up for the start of training camp. The Sabers will come to the KeyBank Center for physical exams and have their first on-ice sessions scheduled for Thursday.
The club started camp with good news on Wednesday morning, announcing defenseman Rasmus Dahlin signed a three-year, $ 18 million contract. Dahlin was Buffalo’s only unsigned player, as the only restricted free agent.
The 21-year-old was one of the four most important RFAs in the NHL as teams and players weighed the pros and cons of a long-term extension or a shorter “bridge” contract. The group also included the Vancouver duo of Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes and Brady Tkachuk of Ottawa.
A fifth player, Trophy winner Calder Kirill Kaprizov of Minnesota, signed a five-year, $ 45 million contract on Tuesday night to stay with the Wild after a summer of rumors he could stay at home in Russia and play in the KHL.
Dahlin struggled mightily last year under Ralph Krueger, but flourished under coach Don Granato. In the last 20 games of the season following the change of coach, Dahlin led the Sabers 5-5, averaging 23:16 per game overall and 11 points.