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First-round pick agrees to 3-year contract

5/31/2004 - Buffalo Sabres

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- First-round draft pick Daniel Paille agreed
to a three-year contract with the Buffalo Sabres on Monday.

Selected 20th overall in the 2002 draft, Paille is coming off a
strong season in which he co-captained Guelph to the Ontario Hockey
League title. The forward also gained prominence last winter when
he was captain of Canada's team that won a silver medal at the
World Junior Hockey championships.

"We believe that Daniel will bring a great deal of talent and
character to our organization," Sabres general manager Darcy
Regier said.

A message left with Paille's agent, J.P. Barry, was not
immediately returned.

Paille set career highs last season with 37 goals, 43 assists
and 80 points. He grew up in Welland, Ontario, just across the
border from Buffalo, and is considered one of junior hockey's top
two-way players.

The move came a day before an NHL deadline for all teams to sign
their 2002 picks who are not currently playing in Europe or at U.S.
college, or lose their rights to those prospects.

The Sabres have two still-unsigned players from that draft,
third-rounder Michael Tessier and eighth-rounder Dennis Wideman,
who turned down a Sabres' contract offer last autumn.

After completing his season with London of the OHL, Wideman
signed a deal with Buffalo's AHL farm team, but did not make an
appearance with Rochester in the playoffs.

If left unsigned, Tessier would be eligible to return to the
draft, while Wideman would become an unrestricted free agent.

Paille was Buffalo's second of two first-round selections in
2002. The Sabres selected defenseman Keith Ballard with the 11th
pick but traded him to Colorado as part of a three-team deal to
acquire Chris Drury last summer.