The Buffalo Sabres in a perfect world would love to get blueliners Rasmus Dahlin and Owen Power signed to long-term extensions this summer, but they may have to settle on getting just getting Dahlin locked up into the next decade and bridge Power, as the New York Rangers did with defenseman K’Andre Miller on Tuesday.
— NHL (@NHL) July 11, 2023
Miller, 22, coming off a 43-point campaign in his third season with New York, signed a two-year contract with an AAV of $3.872 million. The Rangers lack of cap space and the salary cap going up only to $83.5 million were definitely factors in the former first-round pick taking a bridge deal, putting him in a position to hit a big number in 2025 when the cap could be over $90 million.
The chatter at the NHL Draft in Nashville was that Dahlin and the Sabres were close to an eight-year extension in excess of $10 million per season, but there is less evidence that the club and Power are on the same page about being locked up coming out of his entry-level deal as Mattias Samuelsson and Dylan Cozens did.
The Sabres enticed the 2021 first-overall pick to sign a three-year deal after his sophomore season at Michigan by burning the first of his three-year entry-level contract with an eight-game stint at the end of the 2021-22 season. In his rookie season, Power scored 35 points (4 goals, 31 assists), just slightly below Dahlin’s totals (9 goals, 35 assists) in his debut campaign in 2019.
A Bridge Too Far?
Dahlin followed up with 40 points in 59 games in his second season, but struggled in his third year under Ralph Krueger, dropping to 23 points in 56 games. The 2018 top overall pick could have signed a max deal at that point but settled on a three-year, $18 million bridge deal. That decision turned out to be wise for the big Swede, whose production went up to 53 points in 2022 and a career-high 73 points last season.
With Power, the Sabres are looking to be proactive as they were with Tage Thompson and pay him a good salary for his potential, but not as much as he might garner two-or-three years down the line. If the Toronto native and agent Pat Brisson are opting to go the bridge route as Dahlin did two years ago, GM Kevyn Adams could use Miller’s deal and cap hit as a blueprint.
That's goal No. 1 for Owen Power! 🙌
First of many more to come! pic.twitter.com/rBt32TYbHS
— NHL (@NHL) April 22, 2022