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Buffalo Sabres forward Stu Barnes reported on time to training camp without a new contract because he fully expected one before the season started. A deal was finally worked out Thursday.

Barnes signed a two-year contract worth about $3 million plus bonuses and an option for a third year. The deal is basically the same one he had in Pittsburgh before being traded for Matthew Barnaby.

"You come in hoping it would be done, but you never know how things develop," Barnes said. "It was never an ugly thing at any point. Darcy (Regier) was good to us and responsive. We had good conversations all along. I'm happy it got taken care of."

Barnes had a difficult start to his career with the Sabres, going scoreless in 17 regular-season games. He tied for the team lead with seven playoff goals and finished with 20 goals and 16 assists last season.

The contract leaves the Sabres with five restricted free agents unsigned. The others are forwards Curtis Brown, Miroslav Satan and Vaclav Varada and defensemen Jay McKee and Rhett Warrener.

"It gives (Barnes) an advantage," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "He's been in camp, he's been in shape, he's played in games and played well. It looks like we're getting closer to the other players. To get one signed, other guys might follow."

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