Sabres agree with Pominville, Lydman

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Defenseman Toni Lydman and forward Jason Pominville avoided arbitration and agreed to long-term deals with
the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday.

Lydman agreed to a four-year, $11.5 million deal shortly before
his arbitration hearing was scheduled to begin, the NHL Players
Association said in an e-mail to The Associated Press. Pominville,
whose hearing was scheduled for Friday, agreed to a three-year,
$3.1 million contract, the team said.

A five-year NHL veteran, Lydman will make $2.3 million next
season, $2.9 million in 2007-08 and $3.15 million in each of his
final two years. He made $1.9 million last season, his first with
Buffalo after the team acquired him in a trade with Calgary.

Lydman was among Buffalo's top four blue-liners, registering one
goal and 16 assists in 75 regular-season games. He added a goal and
five assists in 18 playoff games for Buffalo, helping the team
reach the Eastern Conference final, which it lost in seven games to
the eventual Stanley Cup champion Carolina Hurricanes.

Pominville will make $800,000 next season, $925,000 the
following year and $1.375 million in the final year. He made
$450,000 last season.

Pominville is coming off a strong year where he led all rookies
in playoff scoring with 10 points (five goals and five assists) in
18 games to help the Sabres reach the Eastern Conference finals.

Pominville's most memorable goal came when he became the first
player in playoff history to clinch a series with a shorthanded,
overtime goal. It happened in Buffalo's 3-2 win over Ottawa in Game
5 of their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Buffalo's second-round pick in the 2001 draft, Pominville
emerged as a dependable third-line forward and power-play threat
after opening last season in the minors. He finished second among
Sabres rookies in scoring with 18 goals (10 on the power play) and
12 assists in 57 games.