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Buffalo Sabres sign restricted free agent Stafford to two-year deal

BUFFALO, N.Y. – The Buffalo Sabres signed restricted free-agent forward Drew Stafford to a two-year deal Sunday.

Stafford, 23, emerged as a scoring threat last season when he set career highs in goals and points in 79 games. In 184 career NHL games, Stafford has had 49 goals and 110 points in 184 games.

Stafford was at the team’s first day of training camp Saturday even though he didn’t have a contract. Both he and general manager Darcy Regier said the sides were close enough in negotiations to warrant Stafford’s appearance.

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The contract is worth US$3.8 million. Stafford is due to earn $1.5 million in the coming season and $2.3 million in the 2010-11 campaign.

Mark Mancari remains the lone unsigned player. He has told Regier he is seeking other options.