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Here's the Article Staff
7/23/2006 1:33:05 PM

Buffalo Sabres star Daniel Briere has been awarded a one year, $5 million settlement through arbitration.

The two sides had been trying to work out a long term deal, but were unable to reach an accord before the arbitrator's ruling. The contracts signed by Martin Havlat, Marian Gaborik and Alex Tanguay were apparently used as benchmarks in this case.

The Sabres now have 48 hours to accept the settlement or reject it and allow Briere to become an unrestricted free agent. Even if the Sabres accept the one-year deal, Briere will be eligible for free agency after the season.

For that reason, the Sabres were rumoured to be quietly shopping Briere throughout the arbitration process, and Briere could still be traded within the next couple of days - provided the Sabres accept the one-year deal. Montreal, Los Angeles and Atlanta are among the teams in the mix.

Briere only played 48 games last season due an abdominal injury that required surgery. Before getting hurt, Briere was on his way to a career-year, scoring 25 goals and 33 assists for 58 points.

Briere returned in time to put up 8 goals and 11 assists for 19 points in 18 playoff games as Buffalo came within one win of reaching the Stanley Cup Finals.

In 2003-04, Briere had his best NHL season, scoring 28 goals and 37 assists for 65 points in 82 games.

Briere has played 402 NHL games, scoring 130 goals and 151 assists for 281 points.

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Sabres accept Briere's arbitration award

Associated Press
8/3/2006 5:18:13 PM

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - The Buffalo Sabres agreed Thursday to accept the $5 million US contract Daniel Briere was awarded in salary arbitration, ending any speculation that the team was prepared to part with its co-captain.

"It was a decision we felt very good about moving forward on," general manager Darcy Regier said. "It's very important for us to have him on board for next season."

Regier added that the choice to retain Briere was not a difficult one. He credited team owner B. Thomas Golisano for making the financial commitment on a contract that represents a $3 million raise over Briere's salary last season.

Regier said that in accepting the contract, the team has no intention of trading Briere.

Under NHL rules, the Sabres held the option to walk away from the award, a move that would have allowed Briere to become an unrestricted free agent.

The Sabres have not yet decided to accept the one-year, $2.9 million contract awarded forward J.P. Dumont on Wednesday. Buffalo has one more player scheduled for arbitration, fourth-line forward Adam Mair, whose hearing is set for Friday.

"I'm very excited about being on board again for the following season," said Briere, who was awarded the contract July 23. "I've said all along that I want to be here, so it's exciting to finally know what's going to happen and where I'm going to be for the next year."

Briere is coming off a strong year in which he finished fourth on the Sabres with 58 points (25 goals, 33 assists) despite missing 32 games because of a sports hernia.

He returned to the lineup in March and helped lead Buffalo in an extended playoff run, which ended with the team losing Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final to Carolina, the eventual Stanley Cup champion.

Briere had eight goals, including two game-winners, and 11 assists for a team-leading 19 points in 18 playoff games.

Briere acknowledged he had some doubts about whether the small-market Sabres would keep him.

"My gut was telling me that I was going to be here but, at the same time, you don't know," he said. "You hear the rumours that they might walk away or might trade me. ... So I'm glad it's all cleared now and we can move on."

Buffalo's rising payroll has been a significant issue this off-season. The Sabres had a relatively modest $29 million payroll last season, about $10 million under the salary cap.

Including Dumont, the team's payroll would now stand at about $37 million. The Sabres still have two key unrestricted free agents to fit in under the new $44 million cap: goaltender Ryan Miller, who's coming off a 30-win season, and defenceman Dmitri Kalinin.

Mair is expected to receive a slight raise over his $450,000 salary last year.

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The scary part in all of these arbitration awards, what's going to happen next year when all these contracts need to be renewed again?

I mean, these contracts are ridiculous, next thing you know, they will be playing with 4 skaters the whole game, not just in overtime, so they can stay under the cap???
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