C.J. Smith’s audition with the Sabres is about to start.
Buffalo signed the forward from UMass Lowell to a two-year contract prior to Thursday’s practice, and he will play the final five games. The Sabres’ next game is Sunday against the New York Islanders in KeyBank Center.
Smith got the rookie maximum contract, with a prorated $925,000 this year and $925,000 next season, a source says.
“It will kind of be like an audition for next season," Smith told the Post Bulletin of Rochester, Minn. "It'll help me to get out there and learn the systems, show them what I can do in whatever role they want me to play."
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound left winger is leaving college after three seasons. Smith had 23 goals and 51 points in 41 games this year and was named MVP of the Hockey East Tournament. He scored in the River Hawks’ opening-game win in the NCAA Tournament before being eliminated by Notre Dame and Sabres goaltending prospect Cal Petersen.
In 120 collegiate games, Smith totaled 56 goals, 69 assists and 125 points.
The Sabres are getting a familiar face back on defense. Rasmus Ristolainen’s three-game suspension is over. To make room, the Sabres sent Brady Austin back to Rochester.