Sabres extend qualifying offers to Lehner, Beaulieu and Foligno

Sabres extend qualifying offers to Lehner, Beaulieu and Foligno
Posted at 5:30 PM, Jun 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-26 22:12:36-04

The Sabres had until 5 p.m. on Monday to extend qualify offers to restricted free agents.

As expected, Buffalo tendered goalie Robin Lehner, Marcus Foligno, Johan Larsson, Evan Rodrigues, Zemgus Girgensons and newly acquired defenseman Nathan Beaulieu.

While fans might not be the biggest supports of the netminder, after protecting him from Vegas in the expansion draft, and with depth and the position less than inspiring, it makes sense for Buffalo to extend an offer.

Lehner faced the third most shots in the league (1,910) last season and posted a .920 save percentage.  He'll head into the season as the No. 1 goalie and will likely be backed up by Linus Ullmark.

Lehner posted a 23-26-8 mark last season.

At 25, Foligno is coming off his best professional season with the Blue & Gold after scoring a career best 13 goals in 80 games.

He's a dependable third line winger that provides toughness and ability to finish at the net.

Larsson started the year as the team's third line and was one of the most consistent players a season ago but saw his season cut short after suffering a dislocated elbow and wrist in a loss to the Boston Bruins in early January.  He had six goals in only 36 games.

Forward Zemgus Girgensons, who was protected from Vegas as well in the expansion draft, was extended a qualifying offer from the club.

After bursting onto the scene and earning an All-Star nod during his 20-goal campaign in 2014, Girgensons saw his goal total drop to just seven the follow seasons.  After re-signing a one year contract -- essentially a "prove it deal" for 2016, the winger again posted just seven goals and posted a career worst 16 points.

Rodrigues split time last season between the Sabres and AHL in Rochester.  He scored four goals in 30 games.

It's important to note that players don't have to sign their one-year qualifying offers. They can come to new terms with the club, or hold out for a better deal and even go to salary arbitration with the club.

On Sunday the window for the Sabres to begin talks with unrestricted free agents opened.  July 1 is when teams can officially sign free agents.

The contract buyout window ends on Friday, June 30.

Full List of Players Extended Qualifying Offers

G - Robin Lehner
D - Nathan Beaulieu
F - Marcus Foligno
F - Zemgus Girgensons
F - Johan Larsson
F - Evan Rodrigues

Players Not Extended Qualifying Offers

F - Justin Kea
F - Jean Dupuy
F - Brady Austin