It’s a little surprising it took this long, but the Buffalo Sabres have finally reached a deal with Casey Mittelstadt. The 2017 eighth overall pick signed a one-year deal worth a little over $874k.
Mittelstadt didn’t have a lot of leverage going into this negotiation after a down year and being a 10.2c restricted free agent. He could not receive an offer sheet and was not eligible for arbitration.
The expectation was that he would take his qualifying offer a few months ago. Similar to what we saw occur with Tyson Jost and Colorado Avalanche. Mittelstadt didn’t but fast forward a few months and that’s what he essentially signs for anyway. His qualifying offer was the same as the agreed-upon deal that was announced today.
Now, the question shifts to what the Sabres do with Mittelstadt. At this point, he’s probably on the outside looking in for a roster spot. He could start the year on the Sabres taxi squad with the intention of going to the AHL when they start their season. However, if the AHL doesn’t have a season, it makes things difficult for the two sides.
The Sabres won’t be able to get a good evaluation on the player and Mittelstadt won’t have a lot of opportunities to show improvement in-game action unless there are injuries.
We’ll see what happens when camp opens at the end of next to get an early idea of their plans with him.