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On eve of free agent frenzy, it was good to be Drew Stafford

While we wait for the noon hour and the official start of free agency, one guy we know well whose career had pretty much come to an end here actually got a raise yesterday.

Drew Stafford enjoyed his time in Winnipeg, and now he'll really enjoy it there after signing a two-year, $8.7 million deal with the Jets on Tuesday. That's $4.35 million a year -- or a raise from the $4 million annual salary from the deal he signed with the Sabres in 2011. Seriously.

"This was the best offer I got,” Stafford said on a conference call, as reported by the Winnipeg Sun. “I'm not going to say it's the only offer I got, but it's the offer I wanted. I couldn't be happier to get it done. I'm extremely happy to be coming back.”

Stafford scored 18 goals and 25 assists in 76 games last season, with 9-11-20 coming in 26 games in The Peg.

In a weak free agent class, Stafford stood as one of the better forwards on the market. There's talk today from TSN that Anaheim's Matt Beleskey could be looking at a deal of 5-7 years after a 22-goal season. Of course, that's the only season he's had of more than 11 goals.

Let the stupid season begin.

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