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Some former Sabres find new homes as free agency opens

A new chapter for the Buffalo Sabres has afforded some former players the opportunities for their own fresh starts.

A number of former Sabres signed deals Wednesday as the NHL opened free agency season.

Forward Cody Hodgson will get a new start in Nashville while four former goaltenders singed new deals – Anders Lindback (Arizona), Michal Neuvirth (Philadelphia), Jhonas Enroth (Los Angeles) and Matt Hackett (Anaheim).

Hodgson suffered through his worst year of hockey last season, six goals and seven assists in 78 games, often pushed to the fourth line and increasingly became a healthy scratch.

He had four years left on his six-year, $25.5 million deal he signed with the Sabres, who placed him on waivers then bought out his contract for $6.33 million.

Hodgson signed a one-year deal with Nashville for $1.05 million.

It was only two seasons ago when Hodgson was a 20-goal scorer in the NHL, finishing with 44 points for the Sabres. He earned a spot on Team Canada and scored six goals in the 2014 IIHF World Championships.

Lindback signed a one-year, $875,000 contract with the Coyotes. Traded to Buffalo from Dallas in February, the 27-year old played in 16 games for the Sabres with a 2.76 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage.

That February trade sent Enroth to Dallas, where he played in 13 games with a 2.38 goals-against and a .906 save percentage.

Enroth signed a one-year, $1.25 million deal with the Kings to back up Jonathan Quick.

Neuvirth was traded to the Islanders in March after playing in 27 games for the Sabres. He inked a two-year deal with the Flyers for $3.25 million. Philadelphia was looking for a reliable backup to Steve Mason, who played in just 51 games last season due to an assortment of injuries.

Hackett, who spent most of last season returning from a knee injury, signed a two-year deal with the Ducks.

Andrej Sekera, who played his first seven NHL seasons with the Sabres, signed a six-year, $33-million deal with the Edmonton Oilers.

McCollum, Mueller sign deals

The Detroit Red Wings re-signed goaltender Tom McCollum, a Cambria native, to a one-year contract after he became the No. 1 goaltender for the Grand Rapids Griffins last season when Petr Mrazek was recalled to the NHL.

The 25-year old goaltender picked up his first career NHL win in a 6-4 victory against the Sabres when he came in to spell an injured Jimmy Howard. He played two games for the Red Wings and 37 for their AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids. He went 19-11-6 with a 2.40 goals-against average and .916 save percentage. In 16 playoff games, for the Griffins, he was 9-6 with a 2.55 GAA.

The Anaheim Ducks signed West Seneca native Chris Mueller to a one-year deal. The center has played in 53 career NHL games with Nashville, Dallas and the New York Rangers.

Ex-Canisius player inks deal

Former Canisius College defenseman Chris Rumble signed a contract with the Evansville IceMen of the ECHL and was invited to play on the Ottawa Senators team at the 2015 NHL Rookie Tournament, Sept. 10-13 in London, Ont.

Rumble made his professional debut with the IceMen this spring, playing eight games and registering two assists.

In three seasons with the Golden Griffins he had 46 points (14 goals, 32 assists) in 84 games. He is coming off his best season for the Griffs with 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists) and was an Atlantic Hockey First Team selection.

Meanwhile, former Canisius goaltender Keegan Asmundson will attend Washington Capitals development camp July 7-11.

Asmundson signed with the South Carolina Stingrays after the Griffs’ season ended. He played three games in the ECHL, including his first pro win via shutout.

email: amoritz@buffnews.com

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