McKee only Sabres player not to accept offer

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Sabres forward Jochen Hecht agreed to a
three-year contract Monday, while leading scorer Daniel Briere was
one of 11 Buffalo players accepting one-year qualifying offers to
re-sign with the team.
Hecht's contract is worth more than $6 million total, a
significant raise over the $1.6 million he was due next season --
his last before being eligible to become an unrestricted free
"We wanted him here for longer than just that one year because
he's obviously a very important player to our team," Sabres
general manager Darcy Regier said. "Effectively, we bought two
unrestricted years."
Hecht is a six-year NHL veteran who had 15 goals and 37 assists in
2003-04, mostly playing the left side on the Sabres' top line
centered by Briere.
Briere accepted a $1.93 million qualifying offer, but he failed
to negotiate a longer-term deal, his agent, Pat Brisson, said.
Other veteran Sabres accepting one-year qualifying offers were
forwards Maxim Afinogenov, J.P. Dumont, Tim Connolly, Ales Kotalik,
Milan Bartovic and defensemen Henrik Tallinder and Jeff Jillson.
Three Sabres prospects -- forwards Jason Pominville, Paul Gaustad
and Michael Ryan -- also accepted one-year offers.
All NHL players had until 5 p.m. Monday to accept their offers,
although teams retain the rights to those who rejected their
Veteran defenseman Jay McKee was the only Buffalo player not to
accept. He is trying to negotiate a long-term deal.
"This is not saying that the QO will not at one point still be
accepted," McKee wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
"We'll just wait and see where the negotiations go."
McKee is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next
summer. His qualifying offer is worth $1.6 million next season.
Regier expects McKee to sign a deal before the start of training
camp next month.
McKee currently is the team's longest-serving player, entering
his ninth season.