BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Sabres have locked up their star defenseman into the next decade after agreeing to a long-term contract extension with Owen Power two days after announcing a new pact with Rasmus Dahlin.
Buffalo’s No. 1 overall draft pick in 2021, Power signed a seven-year contract extension worth $8.35 million per season, the team announced Wednesday on the eve of its season opener. The deal will make Power the 15th-highest salaried defenseman in the NHL next season, and runs through 2031.
This comes after the Sabres signed Dahlin, the No. 1 overall pick in 2018, to an eight-year extension through 2032 worth $11 million annually. The richest contract in franchise history makes Dahlin one of the three highest-paid players at his position next season.
Power, who turns 21 next month, finished third in the Calder Memorial Trophy voting in his rookie season, compiling 35 points (four goals, 31 assists). He ranked second among all NHL skaters in 5-on-5 ice time at 19:46 per game, the highest figure by a rookie since the league began tracking the statistic.
“What he does on a nightly basis is just amazing,” coach Don Granato said after Power became the first defenseman in team history with goals in three consecutive games last January. “When you factor in his age and lack of experience in our league, to dominate situations and really full games the way he does.”
Power is but the latest member of what management has identified as part of its core group to sign a long-term deal.
It’s a group made up of centers Tage Thompson, who last year signed seven-year, $50 million contract, and Dylan Cozens (seven years, $49.7 million), along with Dahlin and blue-line partner Mattias Samuelsson (seven years, $30 million).
Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams said on Monday that “it’s critical that these guys have made the commitment. I think this sends a strong message to the league that this is going to be a special place to play moving forward.”
The Sabres enter the season embracing the potential of having a break-through year and finally snap what’s grown into an NHL-worst 12-year playoff drought. Buffalo fell two points short last season, being eliminated in the final week of the regular season.
Power signed with Buffalo in the final weeks of the 2021-22 season after completing his sophomore season at the University of Michigan. From Mississauga, Ontario, he became the first U.S. college player to go No. 1 in the draft since since Erik Johnson in 2006. At 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds, Power has a smooth and fast skating ability, which fits the Sabres’ style in having defensemen join the rush.
“He does so much out there that he doesn’t get credit for,” Dahlin said at the end of last season. “He’s always at the right spot at the right time. He barely makes any mistakes. He never gets tired playing that way. It just looks like he’s floating around there but he’s so smart. He’s always at the right spot.”
Jonah Bronstein joined the WIVB squad in 2022 as a digital sports reporter. The Buffalonian has covered the Bills, Sabres, Bandits, Bisons, colleges, high schools and other notable sporting events in Western New York since 2005, for publications including The Associated Press, The Buffalo News, and Niagara Gazette. Read more of his work here.
The Associated Press contributed reporting.