The Buffalo Sabres signed center Zemgus Girgensons to a three-year, $6.6 million deal on Friday to prevent him from reaching the free agent market.
The No. 14 overall pick of the 2012 NHL Draft by the Sabres, he would have become an unrestricted free agent.
In 489 regular-season games over seven seasons, the Latvian has recorded 138 points (61 goals, 77 assists). Last season, he had 12 goals and seven assists in 69 games.
“A player who truly executes within the framework of what we need defensively, and he is a threat to score,” Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said in September of the 26-year-old Girgensons.
“And he always works 100 percent from the start to the end of practice, so that gives him quite a consistent game during the games. You know exactly what you’re getting from him shift in and shift out. A very important body in our group.”