Maine Hockey Journal

Sabres extend qualifying offers

Courtesy of Southern Maine Digital Imaging

Courtesy of Southern Maine Digital Imaging

Portland, ME – With the NHL Draft out of the way, the Buffalo Sabres can now focus on July 1, which begins the opening of free agency. However, the Sabres had some internal housekeeping to take care of first by extending qualifying offers to several of their restricted free agents, among them are a couple who played for the Portland Pirates, Buffalo’s AHL affiliate.

Among the group that received an offer was defenseman Andrej Sekera, forwards Drew Stafford, Clarke MacArthur, Patrick Kaleta and former Pirates’ Mark Mancari and Marek Zagrapan.

Zagrapan opted to sign a contract with the Severstal Cherepovets of the KHL for the upcoming season.

The Sabres had until 5pm deadline on Monday to extend the offers to any of their restricted free agents in order to protect the team’s rights or receive compensation should a player opt to sign with another team. Should a player accept the standard offer, it would entitle them to a 10 percent raise for one year.

Sabres’ GM Darcy Regier did indicate that a couple players, who played in Portland, were not given qualifying offers, but refused to name who they were because they may not have been made aware of that fact. Included on that list are Dylan Hunter, Mike Funk, Mike Card and Adam Dennis. All suffered some sort of long-term injury last season.

NOTES: The Sabres made six selections in this year’s NHL Entry Draft and it’s expected all of them will return back to their junior clubs with the exception of Maxime Legault, who could end up in a Portland Pirates jersey this season. Legault, 20, is an overager with the Shawinigan Cataractes of the Quebec Major Junior League and might be ready to make the jump to the minor league in some capacity. At 6-2, 195-pounds, he can play the game with some serious grit and add a level of leadership, a role he took on with the Cataractes last season. Legault also has an ability to find the back of the net, scoring 28 goals, 16 assists in 63 games last year in Shawinigan. He’s also not a defensive liability as he had a plus-22 rating for the season.

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