The Buffalo Sabres wanted to bolster their defense and had been connected to costly free-agent defensemen like Radko Gudas, but GM Kevyn Adams wanted to improve their depth on the blueline and not complicate their salary cap situation down the line. The Sabres were looking to add veteran help in the short-term for reasonable money to provide support for youngsters Rasmus Dahlin, Owen Power, and Mattias Samuelsson and did so with the signings of free agents Erik Johnson and Connor Clifton.
erik johnson goodbye adtr pic.twitter.com/KKVF38Hvkq
— fourthoverall edits (@4thOverall) June 23, 2023
The Sabres signed Johnson, the former #1 overall pick to a one-year deal, worth $3.25 million. The deal includes a $1.25 million signing bonus per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek. The Stanley Cup winner played a diminished role in his 12th year with Colorado last season. The 35-year-old Johnson has a lot of wear and tear on him and might not be capable of playing a top-four role every night, but his leadership, experience, and capability as a defensive defenseman could be a positive influence on fellow top overall picks Dahlin and Power.
Clifton spent five seasons in the Atlantic Division with the Boston Bruins, and had 23 points (5 goals, 18 assists) in 78 games. The 28-year-old signed a three-year deal, worth $3.33 million per season.
The Sabres chose to not qualify center Tyson Jost on Friday, allowing him to go to free agency instead of offering him a deal in excess of $2 million per season, but on Saturday the club reached a one-year deal with Jost for $2 million. The 25-year-old was a 10th overall selection by Colorado in 2016 and had 22 points (7 goals, 15 assists) in 59 games after being claimed off of waivers from Minnesota in November.
Tyson Jost, everyone 👏 pic.twitter.com/MkEYTgBYYk
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) March 4, 2023