Well, it's not every day you see a player sign a $30 million contract before scoring their first NHL goal.
That's exactly what Mattias Samuelsson did on Wednesday morning, as the defenseman agreed to terms with the Buffalo Sabres on a massive seven-year contract extension worth an average annual value of $4.285 million.
The deal, which now ties Samuelsson to Buffalo through the 2029-30 season, comes just 54 games into his professional career and will kick in at the start of the 2023-24 season, as Samuelsson is still on his entry-level contract.
It's very clear what the Sabres are doing here.
In locking in Samuelsson to this type of deal so early in his career, the Sabres are clearly hoping that the 22-year-old will blossom into the legitimate top-four defenseman they believe him to be, eventually out-performing his $4.285 million price tag and turning into a bargain asset while being under contract for a long period of time.
For Samuelsson, this is a player who is embracing the security that comes with a long-term deal. Nothing is guaranteed in professional sports, no matter how much potential you have. Now, just like any player with a long-term contract, Samuelsson could suffer a catastrophic injury tomorrow, God forbid, and still be set to earn $29.95 million over the next seven years.
Still, though, this is an incredibly risky move.
Samuelsson has not scored a single goal in the NHL thus far, having played 54 career games split across the past two seasons. The former second-round pick in 2018 logged second-pairing minutes in 2021-22 and performed decently well in them on a lacklustre team, clearly demonstrating the promise he has that, in turn, led to the deal he signed today.
With the Sabres set to take a step forward in their competitiveness this season, Samuelsson will be under immense pressure to continue his positive trajectory with higher stakes at play.
Either way, this is one of the more interesting contracts to be signed in recent memory.