The Buffalo Sabres have re-signed forward Paul Gaustad to a four-year, $9.2 million contract.
''I'm excited about where this team is headed, and I've really come to love playing in Buffalo,'' Gaustad told THE CANADIAN PRESS by telephone from his home in Portland, Ore.
''It's something where you take a step back and look at where I came from and how I got there. I'm very proud to have this contract,'' Gaustad added. ''It's something where I never really thought I'd make it in the NHL, and now I have a contract like this.''
Gaustad will earn $1.7 million in the first year of the deal, and $2.5 million per year for the remaining three years.
Sabres general manager Darcy Regier said the team moved quickly to sign Gaustad because of his leadership abilities.
''The focus was on him being somebody that we felt was really important to the team in order to move forward,'' Regier said. ''He is someone who we expect to take a leadership role with this team from the standpoint as an example for younger players and his peers.''
Drafted by the Sabres in the 7th round (220th overall) in 2000, Gaustad has spent his entire NHL career with the Sabres. He's tallied 28 goals and 54 assists in 215 NHL games played. Last season, the Fargo, North Dakota native put up 10 goals and 26 assists with a minus- 4 rating in 82 games.
Gaustad was scheduled to become a restricted free agent on Tuesday and noon.