Sabres bolster blue line, add Erik Johnson, Connor Clifton

The Buffalo Sabres focused on their blue line at the start of free agency, agreeing to deals with Erik Johnson and Connor Clifton.

The 35-year-old Johnson is signing a one-year deal worth $3.25 million. Sources told ESPN's Emily Kaplan the deal also includes a $1.25 million signing bonus.

The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Johnson had been the longest tenured member of the Colorado Avalanche and helped them win a Stanley Cup in 2022. However, the team never offered Johnson a new contract and the end of his seven-year contract that carried a $6 million average annual value provided salary cap relief for the Avs.

Clifton joins the Sabres on a three-year contract with an AAV of $3.33 million. The 28-year-old set career highs last season for the Boston Bruins in games played (78), goals (5), assists (18) and points (23)