BUFFALO (LGS) — The Buffalo Sabres suffered two devasting blows today as Daniel Briere agreed to terms to an eight-year, $52 million deal with the Philadelphia Flyers while Chris Drury signed a five-year, $35.25 million deal with the New York Rangers.
"They're an organization that's willing to do whatever it needs to win every year," Briere said about the Flyers on TSN of Canada. "There were teams that were offering more than Philadelphia did per year but I wanted to be with a team that was committed to winning and going in the right direction."
The Flyers didn't stop there as the Broadstreet Bullies went on to acquire defenseman Jason Smith and forward Joffrey Lupul from the Edmonton Oilers.
Briere's new contract will pay the 2007 NHL All-Star Game MVP an average of $6.5 million per season, with the first year paying him $10 million. The 29-year-old's contract also contains a no-trade clause.
Briere ended talks with Buffalo late this week after Sabres' general manager Darcy Regier refused to offer the team's leading point scorer any sort of raise. Buffalo offered Briere a five-year, $25 million deal on Wednesday evening that was immediately turned down by Pat Brisson, Briere's agent.
The Sabres' offer was the same one Briere requested last off-season. Many believe that Briere took the Sabres' late offer as a slap to the face.
One source close to the negotiations told LetsGoSabres.com on Friday that Briere would have gladly accepted the Sabres' offer had it been made in January.
The source also said Briere wanted to remain in Western New York to please his family and that could have been accomplished if the Sabres bumped their offer to $6 million per season. The Sabres did NOT make another offer to Briere and that's when the former co-captain decided to pursue other options; options that eventually made him even richer.
Briere earned $1.938 million in 2005-06 when he potted 58 points in 48 regular season games. He then added 19 points in 18 playoff games that spring.
Last off-season, Briere was rewarded with a one-year, $5 million arbitration deal after the Sabres were not willing to sign him to a long-term contract. Briere led the Sabres with 95 points in 81 regular season games. He added 15 points in 16 playoff games this past spring.
Briere was acquired from the Phoenix Coyotes on March 11th, 2003 in a deal that saw Chris Gratton sent to the desert.
Drury heads to The Big Apple
Shortly following Briere's signing, we reported that two sources told LetsGoSabres.com that Chris Drury almost certainly had ruled the Sabres out as an option the second after learning Briere was not returning to Western New York.
Various premature reports had Drury signing on with the San Jose Sharks or the Los Angeles Kings but it was the New York Rangers that won the sweepstakes. Drury signed with the Rangers shortly after New York announced the signing of Scott Gomez from the New Jersey Devils.
Drury was acquired July 3rd, 2003 from the Calgary Flames along with Steve Begin in exchange for Rhett Warrener and Steve Reinprecht.
The 30-year-old made $3.154 million last season, scoring 37 goals along with 69 points in 77 regular season games. He added eight goals and five assists in 16 playoffs games.