RALEIGH, N.C. – The Carolina Hurricanes have agreed to a three-year contract with winger Scott Walker, who could have become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

The deal announced Wednesday will pay Walker $2.5 million per season.

Carolina acquired Walker from Nashville last summer. Walker ranked sixth on the team with 21 goals, 30 assists and 51 points with 45 penalty minutes in 81 games. He also brought needed toughness to a roster built primarily on speed.

Walker will enter his 13th NHL season in 2007-08.

“Keeping Scott in Carolina was one of our top priorities this offseason,” Carolina general manager Jim Rutherford said. “He brings skill and grit to our forward lines and he has become one of our team’s leaders on and off the ice.”

Sabres

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Center Derek Roy was one of five players retained by the Buffalo Sabres after they were issued qualifying offers.

The moves, announced Wednesday, marked the first step by the Sabres to re-sign their restricted free agents. The Sabres won the Presidents’ Trophy last season and advanced to the Eastern Conference finals.

Players have the right to accept the one-year offers or negotiate new deals.

Roy is projected to command a significant raise from the $690,000 offer he received after scoring career-highs with 21 goals and 63 points in his third season. The offer is 10 percent above what he made last year.

Also issued offers were forwards Daniel Paille, Andrew Peters and defenseman Nathan Paetsch.

The Sabres also confirmed forward Thomas Vanek, who led the team with 43 goals, was issued an offer, a move previously announced by his agent.

The moves also allow the Sabres the right to match offers made by other teams.


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