Tim Connolly is officially off the market as the Buffalo Sabres have re-signed the oft-injured centre to a new two-year contract extension worth $4.5 million per season.
The 27-year-old began his career with the New York Islanders before being traded to the Sabres for Michael Peca in the summer of 2001. He has been productive while healthy, but has suffered through a series of concussion-related issues. Connolly missed the majority of two full seasons (2003-04, 2006-07) with head injuries and has played in only 29 games while dealing with back and rib ailments this season.
He has 11 goals and 15 assists this season for the Sabres.
In the past the Sabres lost Daniel Briere and Chris Drury to free agency and got nothing in return. It was imperative to general manager Darcy Regier that they had to get something done with Connolly.
"For us, it is better than a trade," Regier told reporters. "In order to keep Tim here, not to give up any assets to acquire someone like Tim, I think it's a terrific day for the Sabres organization."
Connolly was excited to remain with a team that has been loyal to him during throughout his injury riddled career.
"The team's always been there to support me," Connolly said. "We've put (the concussions) behind us now, and moving forward on the ice, I'm feeling as good as I ever have."
The Syracuse, New York native is earning $3.5 million this season and was set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Connolly was selected in the first round, eightth overall by the New York Islanders in the 1999 NHL Entry draft.