The Buffalo Sabres have made several moves to shore up the depth of the organization, and it appears another one is coming. Craig Morgan of AZ Coyotes Insider reports that the Sabres are expected to sign John Hayden to a one-year contract. The team announced that the contract is worth a league-minimum $750,000.
Hayden, 26, played in 29 games for the Arizona Coyotes last season, registering five points and 37 penalty minutes. The 6’3″ forward has 185 games in his NHL career, most of which came with the Chicago Blackhawks. One of the assistant coaches during his time in Chicago was Don Granato, who is now behind the bench in Buffalo.
Selected in the third round in 2013, Hayden never has developed much offensive upside. What he does represent is a solid defensive option for the fourth line who also has some experience penalty killing and will engage physically when needed. With the Sabres lineup looking like it won’t be competitive this season, the team will need these structured depth pieces to help insulate the development of young forwards like Dylan Cozens and Casey Mittelstadt in more offensive situations.