Terry Pegula and his fun ways are working their way out once again in Buffalo. This time they work out in favor of impending restricted free agent Nathan Gerbe.
Gerbe signed a three-year, $4.3 million deal with Buffalo today to avoid salary arbitration with the club. Gerbe became one of Buffalo’s more useful depth players last year as he developed a style that saw him find ways to get to the net and irritate opponents with his won’t-stop-doing-stuff way about him.
Last season, Gerbe got his first chance to break through with the Sabres and did so in a big way despite his diminutive stature. In 64 games, Gerbe scored 16 goals and added 15 assists while mainly playing on Buffalo’s third or fourth lines. For the former Boston College standout, Gerbe’s had to fight his way into the NHL but after his performance last season and now a very rewarding extension, it’s safe to say he’s carved out his place on Buffalo’s roster from here on out.
The signing by GM Darcy Regier with owner Terry Pegula’s blessing is also yet another sign that Buffalo will do what it takes to take care of their own guys and make the necessary moves to win. In the past it’s likely that a player in Gerbe’s position would’ve gone through arbitration and had his contract figured out from there. You might recall the song and dance Tim Kennedy went through with the Sabres that ultimately saw him get bought out after winning his hearing.
Things are different in Buffalo now and it’s got Sabres fans hoping that Pegulamania will bring them one really big gift this free agent season in the form of Brad Richards. We’ll find out soon enough if Pegula is just that good to convince him and is that willing to break the bank to make it happen.