The Buffalo Sabres and goaltender Linus Ullmark have come to terms on a brand new deal, just barely before the two sides were set to face off in arbitration on Monday.
According to an official announcement from the Sabres organization, the Sabres and Ullmark have agreed to terms on a one year deal that will pay Ullmark $2.6 million over the length of that contract. Given that this is a one year deal his cap hit will be identical at $2.6 million. Although that is a nice chunk of change for the 27 year old netminder, his $2.6 million salary is a long way off from the arbitration ask of $4.1 million he and his agent filed last week. In fact the number comes significantly closer to the $1.8 million that was the Sabres' ask prior to the arbitration hearing.
In spite of that fact however do not fool yourself into thinking that Ullmark did not negotiate a good deal for himself here, as he has potentially set himself up for a very big payday in the near future. Ullmark was a restricted free agent this offseason with limited negotiating power, but now thanks to this 1 year deal he will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of next season, something that should give him considerably more leverage in negotiations the next time around.
Honestly Ullmark was due for a raise after coming off a solid season, and this in spite of the team struggling in front of him for most of the season. The Swedish netminder made 34 appearances for the Sabres in 2019 - 2020 and recorded a 2.69 goals against average and a .915 save percentage over that stretch.
This is the second restricted free agent signing of the day for the Buffalo Sabres with the team also coming to terms with RFA forward Sam Reinhart earlier today. In that case the two sides settled on a 1 year deal worth $5.2 million, again avoiding an arbitration hearing that otherwise would have been scheduled for this coming Tuesday. Under the new NHL rules once an arbitration hearing is underway the two sides can no longer settle, so it's no surprise to see so many of these last minute deals getting done.