By Bill Hoppe
BUFFALO — The Sabres re-signed restricted free agent winger Patrick Kaleta to a three-year contract on Tuesday.
The deal is worth $1.25 million a season, according to nhlnumbers.com.
The 26-year-old, the Sabres’ top pest and a ferocious hitter, has developed into a strong checker capable of playing big minutes. In the winter, he began playing 18 minutes some nights on a top checking line with Paul Gaustad and Nathan Gerbe.
The Angola native rarely stays in the lineup, though. His 63 appearances in 2011-12 were eight more than his previous career high. A groin injury shelved him 12 games early, and then a broken thumb cost him three late. He was also banned four games four head-butting.
Kaleta has 26 goals, 50 points and 434 penalty minutes in 267 NHL games. He had five goals, 10 points and a career-high 116 penalty minutes last season.
Center Tyler Ennis is the Sabres’ last notable unsigned restricted free agent.
In other news, the Rochester Americans have re-signed forward Maxime Legault to an AHL contract. The 23-year-old, the 194th overall pick by the Sabres in 2009, has 15 goals, 41 points and 48 penalty minutes in 134 AHL games.