Published by hockeybuzz.com, 7-12-2018
The Buffalo Sabres announced today that the team has reached an agreement with restricted free agent forward Sean Malone. According to the press release Malone signed a one-year, two-way deal where the NHL salary is $787,500. His AHL number hasn't been released thus far.
Malone just completed his first pro season scoring 12 goals and adding 10 assists in 73 games for the Rochester Americans. The 22 yr. old West Seneca, NY native signed his two-year entry-level deal last April 8 and made his NHL debut that same night thus burning the first year of his deal. Malone got off to a rough start in Rochester while acclimating to the pro game but picked things up in February of this year. From February 16 until the end of the regular season, a span of 26 games, Malone scored eight goals and added five assists.
A lot of positive things have been said about the Harvard grad as he began to fully get a grasp on the pro game and many had him with a decent shot at making the Sabres out of camp. Jon Vogl, who with the Buffalo News before heading to The Atlantic wrote after the Amerks were swept out of the playoffs that "[Malone's] stock went up in a hurry. The West Seneca native started on the fourth line, but he was double-shifting by the end and was the Amerks' go-to guy on faceoffs."
Kris Baker has been following the Sabres prospects well before landing a gig with The Athletic last month. He tweeted this about Malone after the rookie scored his 10th goal of the season in Rochester, "Sean Malone is going to be a excellent bottom-six forward for the Sabres, but for now he continues to grow into his role on the farm."
With Buffalo GM being a staunch supporter of players incubating in the minors for as long as necessary, and with the additions of veteran forwards Patrick Berglund and Vladimir Sobotka, along with the fact that the Sabres are deep down the middle, Malone's odds of making the Sabres out of camp are drastically reduced at this time. But like Baker said, he looks as if he'll be in the bottom-six mix for Buffalo for a long time beginning in 2019-20.