May 21, 2012, 2:21 PM EDT
The free agent defenseman market thinned out this morning when Jamie McBain re-upped with Carolina.
This afternoon, it thinned out some more.
That’s because the Buffalo Sabres locked up Alexander Sulzer to a one-year deal worth $725,000. Sulzer, 27, was set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 — and despite his struggles to crack the NHL level during his first five years in North America, it’s likely he would’ve garnered interested on the open market.
Why? Well, after coming over from Vancouver in the Cody Hodgson–Zack Kassian trade at the deadline, Sulzer flourished on a Buffalo blueline decimated by injury. He had 3G-5A-8PTS in 15 games with a plus-2 rating, and the Sabres went 10-3-2 with him in the lineup.
What this means for Buffalo’s defense moving forward remains to be seen. As John Vogl of the Buffalo News reports, the Sabres now have eight defensemen under contract for next season: Tyler Myers, Robyn Regehr, Christian Ehrhoff, Jordan Leopold, Andrej Sekera, Mike Weber, Brayden McNabb and Sulzer.
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