Buffalo Sabres

In pitching free agents, honesty is best policy for Coyotes

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Imagine trying to convince a free agent to sign with the Arizona Coyotes.

Not only did the Coyotes finish with the second-worst record in the NHL last season, their future in Glendale remains murky at best.

So, how does GM Don Maloney make his pitch?

“You’re honest with them,” he said, per azcentral. “You basically say, ‘I have no idea what’s going on, but it’s a great place to play and we have great fans and a great stadium.’ Things seem to have a way of working themselves out, so we try to downplay it as much as we can.”

The Coyotes did recently convince Antoine Vermette, Zbynek Michalek, Steve Downie, Brad Richardson, and Anders Lindback to sign with them. They’re still reportedly looking for a puck-moving defenseman.

Related: Coyotes bring back Vermette with two-year deal

Blues add depth on D, sign Benoit

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Defenseman Andre Benoit has agreed to a one-year, two-way contract with the St. Louis Blues.

From the press release:

Benoit, 31, dressed in 59 regular season games with the Buffalo Sabres last season, posting nine points (one goal, eight assists) and 20 penalty minutes.

Overall, the 5’11, 192-pound has appeared in four National Hockey League (NHL) seasons, including stints with Ottawa, Colorado and Buffalo.  He has amassed 48 points (11 goals, 37 assists) and 60 penalty minutes in 179 career regular season games, as well as four assists and six penalty minutes in 12 career postseason games.

The Blues already have six d-men on one-way contracts for next season: Alex Pietrangelo, Jay Bouwmeester, Kevin Shattenkirk, Carl Gunnarsson, Robert Bortuzzo, and Chris Butler. There’s also young Petteri Lindbohm, still on his entry-level deal.

Related: Blues inform Barret Jackman that he won’t be re-signed

Sabres lock up O’Reilly through 2022-23

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Ryan O’Reilly won’t have to engage in another contract negotiation for a while. The Buffalo Sabres have given him a seven-year extension, locking the 24-year-old forward up through 2022-23.

O’Reilly’s cap hit next season will be $6 million, per the two-year contract he signed with Colorado last summer. For the next seven seasons after that, it’ll be $7.5 million, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

It was the failure of O’Reilly and the Avalanche to agree on a long-term deal that led to him being traded to Buffalo last week. He’d reportedly asked Colorado for an eight-year, $64 million contract. Ultimately, that was too rich for the Avs, who felt they had no choice but to trade him.

In Buffalo, O’Reilly will be the Sabres’ highest-paid player. Evander Kane’s cap hit is $5.25 million, Zach Bogosian’s is $5.14 million, Matt Moulson’s is $5 million, and Tyler Ennis’s is $4.6 million.

O’Reilly’s contract is also structured in a way (see: David Clarkson’s deal) that makes it difficult to be bought out:

Related: Jack Eichel signs entry-level deal with Sabres

Rangers sign ex-Sabres, Jackets forward Adam

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The New York Rangers added more forward depth on Friday by agreeing to terms with Luke Adam.

Adam, 25, was taken 44th overall by Buffalo at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft and enjoyed some good success as a Sabre — in 2011-12, he scored 10 goals and 20 points in 52 games, all career-highs.

The former Quebec junior league standout struggled to retain a spot in Buffalo from there, however, shutting back and forth between the Sabres and AHL Rochester until he was traded to Columbus (for Jerry D’Amigo) in December of 2014.

Adam proceeded to play in three games for the Blue Jackets, recording four penalty minutes.

Jets sign Brendan Lemieux, Claude’s son, to entry-level deal

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The Winnipeg Jets have locked in one of the young prospects acquired in the Evander Kane trade, inking Brendan Lemieux to a three-year, entry-level deal on Friday.

Details:

Picked 31st overall by Buffalo at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, Lemieux spent last year in OHL Barrie and performed well, scoring 41 goals and 60 points in 57 games. And if you’re wondering if Brendan shares anything in common with Claude, do consider he’s racked up 290 PIM combined over the last two years.

Jets fans are getting their first real look at Lemieux today, too. Winnipeg’s prospects camp gets underway at the MTS Iceplex, and should feature former first-round picks Nikolaj Ehlers, Josh Morrissey, Kyle Connor, Jack Roslovic and Joel Armia who, like Lemieux, also came to Winnipeg in the Kane trade.