The Buffalo Sabres have signed restricted free agent C.J. Smith to a two-year contract. The deal has an average annual value of $700K and will keep Smith in the organization through the 2020-21 season.
Smith, 24, was signed out of college two years ago by the Sabres after a dominating NCAA career, and immediately found success at the professional level. He duplicated that success this season with the Rochester Americans recording 58 points in 62 games and showing he may well have a future in the NHL after all. The undrafted forward suited up 11 times for the Sabres in 2018-19 and scored twice.
With some uncertainty on how the Buffalo lineup will shake out after training camp, Smith can go in motivated to try and earn a roster spot. The team recently brought in Jimmy Vesey to give them some more scoring punch, but if they can’t find any matches in the early group they could turn to a young player like Smith and give him an opportunity to show what he can do in the middle-six. Buffalo desperately needs to find enough scoring to put them in contention for a playoff spot this season, and should try everything they can in order to get there.