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Wayne Primeau made his formal debut at the Buffalo Sabres' training camp Tuesday morning, only a little behind schedule.

Primeau agreed to a new contract Sunday night and signed it Tuesday morning, ending his status as a restricted free agent. Primeau missed the first formal day of camp Monday, but scrimmaged with the rest of the team Tuesday.

"It's always hard to get that first skate under your belt," Primeau said. "The other guys said they felt a lot better today than they did the day before."

Primeau's deal is worth approximately $525,000 in base salary.

A long contract stalemate probably wouldn't have done Primeau's career much good. He is coming off a season in which he had five goals and eight assists in 67 games. At the age of 23, he needs to play.

"I'm happy with the deal," Primeau said. "I would have liked the base salary to be a little higher, but I know with my numbers in the regular season I didn't have much bargaining power. I'll take the one year and go from here.

"I want to try to carry my play over from the playoffs last year. Maybe it will give me a chance to get more ice time throughout the whole year."

Of the seven players who were restricted free agents entering camp, two are now practicing with the team. Stu Barnes reported to camp without a contract, but is said to be close to a new deal. However, Vaclav Varada, Jay McKee, Curtis Brown, Rhett Warrener and Miroslav Satan remain unsigned.

Varada reportedly will play for HC Vitkovice in the Czech Republic if he can't work out a deal here. McKee has been given permission by the Sabres to participate in workouts with the team even without a contract, but he has not chosen to do so.

One of the more impressive new faces in training camp so far has been David Moravec, an eighth-round draft choice from 1998. Moravec is 26 and had spent his entire career in the Czech Republic before signing with the Sabres in the offseason.

Moravec, a right winger, was on the winning Czech Olympic team with Dominik Hasek and Richard Smehlik in 1998.

"He is a guy who is very talented offensively, and he has some experience behind him. He could step in and help," coach Lindy Ruff said. "He is a skill player who can score some goals."
Scrimmages will be held today at the Amherst Pepsi Center at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. The sessions are open to the public. . . . Today marks the last day for junior players to work out with the Sabres. They will then return to their junior teams. . . . Buffalo opens the exhibition schedule on Saturday in Rochester against the Boston Bruins. The Sabres will take part in the annual carnival in Marine Midland Arena Sunday afternoon. . . . . . . All preseason games will be broadcast on Radio 104.1 FM.

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