Goalie Biron wins $2.8M deal in arbitration

Updated: August 9, 2004, 7:20 PM ET
Associated Press

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Sabres added $1.3 million to their payroll by re-signing forward J.P. Dumont and goaltender Martin Biron on Monday.

Dumont, the team's third-leading scorer, avoided arbitration by signing a one-year, $2.1 million deal with a $700,000 raise.

Meanwhile, an NHL arbitrator awarded Biron a $600,000 raise in a one-year contract for $2.8 million.

Defenseman Brad Brown avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year $700,000 contract.

Biron was forced to share starting duties with backup Mika Noronen until January. Then, he started in 26 of Buffalo's last 32 games, going 16-8-1 and finishing with a 26-18-5 record.

It was his sixth NHL season and third since taking over as Buffalo's starter after Dominik Hasek left. He had a 2.52 goals-against average.

Biron said a five-hour arbitration hearing allowed him to learn what the Sabres thought of him. He said the Sabres were fair in outlining his strengths and areas for improvement, such as playing more consistently and helping the team reach the playoffs.

"I think I got a lot out of it. It wasn't a slap across the face," Biron said. "It's time for me to take the bull by the horns and take this group of guys to the playoffs."

The Sabres have missed the playoffs three straight seasons.

Dumont finished with 22 goals and 31 assists -- one short of career high for points in his first season with Buffalo. He also was the Sabres captain in January as part of coach Lindy Ruff's monthly rotation.

Brown, acquired in a deal with Minnesota in March, took a $50,000 pay-cut, but his contract includes a clause that will pay him the full amount even if he's sent to the minors.

Noted for his physical style, Brown had two assists in 13 games with Buffalo and finished with three assists in 43 games.

Daniel Briere, who led the team in scoring last season, is the last Buffalo player scheduled for arbitration on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Dmitri Kalinin remains the Sabres' most high-profile player unsigned.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press