Buffalo Sabres: Is Tage Thompson worth a long-term extension?

Tage Thompson had an outstanding season in 2021-22 after spending time as an afterthought this time last season. Should the Buffalo Sabres extend him?

The Buffalo Sabres may have a decision to make regarding Tage Thompson. Thompson, who will turn 25 just two weeks after the season begins, enjoyed a breakout campaign when he scored 68 points and 38 goals.

This season, the goal, no pun intended, appears to be 40 goals. And NHL Rumors has thrown around the idea that if Thompson comes close to scoring 40 in 2022-23, that the Sabres may sign him to a long-term extension worth around $8 million annually.

But would Thompson be worth the extension after just two seasons? Let’s discuss.

The Buffalo Sabres would be wise to extend Tage Thompson, but a large salary and long-term extension may be a bad idea.

It is no doubt that Thompson had a season to remember, having led the Sabres in points. But, we also need to honor the idea that Thompson has only had one good season, and a plethora of NHL players have accomplished the same before him.

One good season can be a fluke, while a second good season is enough to draw interest. But, general manager Kevyn Adams needs to stay on the safe side here. In 2017, the Sabres signed Jack Eichel to an eight-year contract worth an AAV of $10 million. The Sabres did the same thing two years later with Jeff Skinner for an eight-year contract, AAV of $9 million.

Skinner fell flat for two seasons, but has since rebounded. Eichel has since left town and rightfully so. But the Sabres should now know that it is unwise to ink a player to a long-term extension after just one or two good seasons.

So what should Kevyn Adams do with Tage Thompson? Right now, the center is in the final season of a three-year deal that carries an AAV of $1.4 million. There is no way, and no reason, that Adams should sign Thompson to something like an eight-year, AAV of $8 million contract at minimum after just two good seasons, assuming Thompson plays well in 2022-23.

Instead, it would be wiser for Adams to give Thompson a two-year deal in the AAV in the $5 million range. This is something similar to what we saw with Victor Olofsson, who signed on for two seasons with a $4.75 million AAV.

If Thompson performs well on the above contract, then by all means, pay the man come 2024-25 and beyond. And pay him for a long time. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves just yet.

Article Source: NHL Rumors: Winnipeg Jets, Montreal Canadiens, New York Islanders, and the Buffalo Sabres by Mark Easson. 

(Contract numbers provided by Cap Friendly)