In his 11-year career, Dustin Tokarski has played 361 games in the American Hockey League, more than any active goalie. The Buffalo Sabres newcomer has won Calder Cup championships as a starter and a backup and as a prospect and a graybeard.
When Tokarski tends goal for the Rochester Americans, he will have played for 10 AHL teams. Three of them are no longer in the league.
Tokarski, 31, has experienced virtually everything in the minors, where he has made 91% of his appearances as a pro. Last season, despite going undefeated during the Charlotte Checkers’ championship run in 2019, he signed an AHL contract for the first time.
So naturally, the two-year, two-way contract Tokarski signed Wednesday felt satisfying. In addition to earning an NHL contract, the Sabres awarded him a multi-year deal.
The uncertainty the COVID-19 pandemic has created forced teams to scale back in free agency. The other three AHL veterans the Sabres signed – forward Steven Fogarty and defensemen Brandon Davidson and Casey Nelson – all received one-year contracts.
“To lock up some security and just know that someone else is putting that faith in me to be a part of this for hopefully those two years, definitely I’m very excited,” Tokarski told the Times Herald on Friday. “I got that fire in me to push toward great things.”
In a normal season, Tokarski would likely split time in Rochester with a goalie prospect – Jonas…