- Associated Press - Thursday, September 15, 2011

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - A day after personally presenting season tickets to fans around Buffalo, Sabres owner Terry Pegula made a far more substantial delivery in securing the team’s top defenseman, Tyler Myers.

The two sides agreed to a seven-year, $38.5 million on Thursday, a day before Sabres players are scheduled to report for the start of training camp. Terms of the deal were confirmed to The Associated Press by a person familiar with negotiations.

The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Sabres have not disclosed the contract figures.

Myers was entering the final season of his rookie contract, and following a two-year professional career in which he’s regarded as one of the NHL’s top up-and-coming defenseman.

Drafted in the first round in 2008, he made the Sabres roster as a 19-year-old the following year. Myers then quickly proceeded to make an impact by scoring 11 goals and 37 assists to earn NHL rookie of the year honors.

After struggling early last season, Myers rebounded with 10 goals and 27 assists.

Canada’s TSN first reported the terms of Myers contract.

The Sabres are expected to discuss the deal at a news conference later in the day.

It’s the latest aggressive move by what’s become a free-spending franchise under Pegula, who purchased the Sabres in February. Buffalo already made several high-profile splashes this offseason.

The team traded for the rights to defenseman Christian Ehrhoff and then signed him to a 10-year, $40 million contract a day before the start of free agency. The Sabres then opened free agency by signing dependable two-way forward Ville Leino to a six-year, $27-million contract.

And don’t forget the draft-day trade with Calgary, in which the Sabres acquired defenseman Robyn Regehr and forward Ales Kotalik.

Those moves contributed to putting the Sabres payroll about $5 million over the NHL salary cap, which is allowed during the offseason. General manager Darcy Regier has until the start of the season next month to get the Sabres payroll below the cap.

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