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Sabres’ Varone files for salary arbitration

Center Phil Varone, who spent most of last season with the Rochester Amerks, was the only Buffalo Sabre among 23 NHL players who filed for salary arbitration, the NHL Players Association announced Sunday.

Varone, 24, played a career-high 28 games with the Sabres last year, collecting three goals and two assists. He had 15 goals and 29 assists in 55 games for Rochester in his fourth season with the Amerks.

Varone had a pro-rated NHL salary of $595,000 last season and made $62,500 in the AHL. The Sabres tendered him his NHL qualifying offer by last week’s deadline, which would push his NHL salary into the $655,000 range. He’s likely looking for a much bigger salary for the AHL portion of his deal, given the large minor-league salaries the Sabres handed out last week in free agency.

Buffalo will be paying former Utica Comets captain Cal O’Reilly $700,000 next season to play in the AHL, while defenseman Matt Donovan would make $400,000 with the Amerks, defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti would make $300,000 and forward Jason Akeson would be at $250,000.

Among the big names who filed for arbitration are New York Rangers standout Derek Stepan, Detroit’s Gustav Nyquist, Ottawa rookie sensation Mike Hoffman and Washington goaltender Braden Holtby.

The deadline for club-elected arbitration is Monday at 5 p.m. Teams can continue to negotiate with players and if no agreement is reached, hearings will be held in Toronto from July 20-Aug. 4.

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