Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes the Buffalo Sabres will be the team to take advantage if any team falters in the Atlantic Division next season and that they are making progress at locking up their two franchise cornerstone blueliners.
RASMUS DAHLIN, WE ARE NOT WORTHY 🥵 pic.twitter.com/ea3TePXaOj
— NHL (@NHL) April 8, 2023
Friedman said on his recent “32 Thoughts” podcast that the Sabres met with the representatives for both defenseman Rasmus Dahlin and Owen Power at the NHL Combine in Buffalo and the 2023 Draft in Nashville last month and that the club is encouraged that both are interested in committing long-term to being with the Sabres and are working on getting the pair of top overall picks locked up on to extensions.
GM Kevyn Adams has time with both youngsters since both their deals are not up until next summer, but there is a benefit in being proactive before each puts up another great season and raises their asking price.
Dahlin For Dollars
The 23-year-old Swede had a career year with 73 points (15 goals, 58 assists) in the second year of his three-year, $18 million deal. It is expected and has been rumored that Dahlin will be one of the highest-paid defensemen in the NHL on his next deal, putting himself in the lofty company of Erik Karlsson and Drew Doughty making over $10 million per season.
In A “Power”ful Position
Power had 35 points (4 goals, 31 assists) as a rookie and finished third in voting for the Calder Trophy. Ideally, Adams would like to get the 2021 first-overall pick signed long-term, but with only one full year under his belt, his representation might steer the Sabres defenseman towards a shorter-term bridge deal similar to what Dahlin signed almost two years ago to build more of a resume towards an eight-figure deal down the line.
The balancing act with Power is security over salary. An extension of six-or-more years could get Power a deal similar to Miro Heiskanen’s eight-year with Dallas ($8.45 million AAV), or Quinn Hughes six-year deal with Vancouver (7.85 million AAV), but both of those deals were signed before the 2021-22 season just coming out of the pandemic.
— Buffalo Hockey Moments (@SabresPlays) April 11, 2023
Power is potentially signing a new deal a year out from the cap going up at $3-to-4 million the next two seasons, which could elevate a six-to-eight-year deal in the neighborhood of Charlie McAvoy and Adam Fox ($9.5 million AAV).