The Buffalo Sabres continued to strengthen their defensive and goaltending corps this week with two-entry level signings.
The Sabres signed goalie Linus Ullmark Tuesday to a three-year, $2.33 million deal. Their sixth-round pick in 2012 spent this past season playing in the junior and elite ranks in Sweden. He was the Swedish Hockey League's top goalie after posting a 2.08 GAA and .931 save percentage in 35 games.
He's expected to compete for playing time with either the Rochester Americans in the AHL or the Elmira Jackals in the ECHL. Jhonas Enroth and Michal Neuvirth figure to compete for the Sabres' No. 1 spot in 2014-15. Nathan Lieuwen has one year left on his contract, and he figures to compete for playing time in Rochester with Amerks playoff star Andrey Makarov, who is under contract two more seasons. Goalies Matthew Hackett and Connor Knapp are restricted free agents this offseason.
Then Friday, the club signed defenseman Brady Austin to a three-year deal. Their seventh-round pick in 2012 spent last season in the Ontario Hockey League, where he posted nine goals and 24 assists in 67 games while going plus-51. Terms of his deal weren't immediately available.
The 20-year-old will also look for playing time next season in Rochester. Buffalo has five defensemen - Tyler Myers, Christian Ehrhoff, Mike Weber, Rasmus Ristolainen and Jake McCabe – under contract. Jamie McBain and Chad Ruhwedel are entering restricted free agency, while Henrik Tallinder and Alexander Sulzer will be unrestricted free agents and are unlikely to return.
The Amerks have Nikita Zadorov, Mark Pysyk, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc and Drew Bagnall under contract on the blueline. Matt MacKenzie and Nick Crawford will be RFAs.
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