The Buffalo Sabres continue to work through a substantial list of restricted free agents. While it was reported yesterday that they had agreed to terms with forward Nicholas Baptiste, the team this morning both confirmed that deal and announced the signing of fellow RFA forward Danny O’Regan. With the deadline for accepting a qualifying offer arriving later today, O’Regan accepted his offer of $874,125 at the NHL level and $70K at the AHL level.
O’Regan was acquired by the Sabres at the NHL Trade Deadline in the deal that sent Evander Kane to the San Jose Sharks. The 2012 fifth-round pick had recorded four assists through 19 games with Sharks prior to the deal and saw action in two contests with Buffalo down the stretch, but was held scoreless. While his NHL offensive efforts to date – five points in 22 games – are underwhelming, O’Regan has not yet been put in a position to succeed, seeing limited ice time in an energy role. That could change in Buffalo, where he joins former Boston University teammates Jack Eichel and Evan Rodrigues up front for the Sabres. O’Regan displayed strong offensive instincts and scoring ability at BU and in his only full season at the AHL level, scoring at a point-per-game pace over the three campaigns. If given proper opportunity up in Buffalo, O’Regan could prove to be an exciting addition.
With O’Regan and Baptiste officially in the books, that still leaves Justin Bailey, C.J. Smith, and most importantly Sam Reinhart as remaining restricted free agents for GM Jason Botterill and the Sabres to sort out. Perhaps before the deadline today, new deals can be hammered out with Bailey and Smith – both of whom could be bound for the AHL for much of next season – but work on Reinhart’s extension is slow and steady.