Take Town: Hit the ground running
Gotta love the Buffalo Sabres. They took a look at 22-year-old defenseman Mattias Samuelsson's 54 career games in which he was more or less a replacement-level player, and didn't score a single goal, and said, "Yup, we think we like where this kid is going."
Ahead of his first full-full season in the NHL, he's signed a seven-year extension worth a shade under $4.29-million AAV.
It's a big bet, and it's one teams like the Sabres -- packed to the gills with, ahem, elite prospects -- have to lock in if they think they have something. What if Samuelsson went off playing second-pair minutes this season? They the contract might get pricey and cause headaches when Rasmus Dahlin, Owen Power, Casey Mittelstadt, and Victor Olofsson need extensions in two years.
With this deal, the Sabres have basically decided on the left side of their defense for a long time to come. And while this is the kind of gamble you can make when you're potentially looking at mountains of cap room, it's also a deal that could end up being a tough look when all those highly regarded prospects need money of their own.
As a result, Samuelsson will be fascinating to watch develop over the next few years. He could end up being a huge bargain, or a bit of an anchor.
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