The Buffalo Sabres locked up an improving member of their forward group Friday when they re-signed Rasmus Asplund to a two-year contract with a cap hit of $825,000.
Asplund, 23, posted career highs in games played (28), goals (7), assists (4) and points (11) for the Sabres during the 2020-21 season while getting regular minutes under coach Don Granato. He can play center or wing. After starting the season on the taxi squad, Asplund progressed all the way up the lineup to getting some top-six minutes in the Sabres' injury riddled alignment as the season wound down. He also showed a penchant for penalty killing.
Once considered an unlikely source for offense, Asplund has become a top-six fixture with six goals and 10 points in 22 games since Granato took over.
The Sabres had extended Asplund a qualifying offer of $874,125 but he took less money to get a second year on the contract. Asplund was a restricted free agent and his entry-level deal had come with a cap hit of $845,000 with varying salaries over its three seasons.
The Sabres were able to protect Asplund from the Seattle expansion draft when veteran winger Jeff Skinner opted to waive his no-movement clause so the team did not have to protect him. The Kraken did not take Skinner and thus could not take Asplund and instead chose defenseman Will Borgen as their selection off the Buffalo roster.
Asplund was the Sabres' second-round pick in 2016, selected at the NHL draft in KeyBank Center with a pick acquired from Florida in a trade for Mark Pysyk, a former Buffalo first-rounder. The Sabres re-acquired Pysyk in free agency on Wednesday, signing him to a one-year, $900,000 contract.
The Sabres also announced they have signed forward Ryan MacInnis to a one-year, two-way contract that will pay $750,000 at the NHL level. MacInnis did not have a point in 16 games for Columbus last season. He had one goal and one assist for Cleveland in the AHL. MacInnis had career highs in goals (7), assists (23) and points (30) in 45 games for Cleveland in 2019-20.
MacInnis played for the U.S. National Development Team in 2012-13 on a team coached by Granato. At points of the season, the roster included Sabres captain Jack Eichel, current Buffalo organization forwards Anders Bjork, John Hayden and Sean Malone, and Sabres defenseman Will Butcher.