Reports last week indicated that the Buffalo Sabres were on the precipice of getting defenseman Rasmus Dahlin signed to a long-term extension, but there are rumors of a potential snag between the club and their All-Star defenseman. GM Kevyn Adams said to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun and Michael Russo at the NHL general managers and coaches meeting in Chicago that the recent eight-year, $64.4 million deal signed by Ottawa’s Jake Sanderson would have any impact on the negotiations with Dahlin or Owen Power.
“We started conversations early in the offseason with (Dahlin and Power) and continued all through the summer,” Adams said. “We continue to talk now and they’ve been really positive. So it’s something that we’re still going to work on here over the next couple of weeks.”
The rumors have been persistent that the Sabres are looking to lock up Dahlin to a max contract extension in excess of $10 million per season, but according to former Sabre Andrew Peters, host of WGR 550s The Instigators, Dahlin’s representatives want a shorter term five-year deal and the Sabres are holding firm for an eight-year deal. In spite of the fact that the deal would make the 23-year-old one of the top-paid defensemen in the NHL, the contractual landscape appears to have changed for top-end players after the deal Auston Matthews signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
🗣️ Drop everything now!
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) September 13, 2023
Matthews signed a five-year deal for $11.634 million in 2019 (the second-highest salary in the NHL), which brought him to unrestricted free agency until the age of 26. The former Hart Trophy winner signed a four-year extension last month that makes him the highest-paid player in the NHL starting next season and enables him to hit unrestricted free agency and one more big payday at 30 years old.
Dahlin’s agent Craig Oster of Newport Sports may be using the same playbook, in that a five-year deal would bring Dahlin to free agency for another big payday at 28, which would likely give him the bargaining power to sign an eight-year extension with the Sabres or seven-year deal with another team that would extend into his mid-30s.