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Merrimack's Schaller inks pact with Buffalo

Most college students graduate and then they go look for a job. Tim Schaller of Merrimack is doing it a little differently.

By the time he gets his degree is social science from Providence College in May, Schaller will already be working in his chosen field of work. Apparently the Buffalo Sabres didn't need to see his sheepskin.

Schaller, 22, signed an entry level contract with the Buffalo Sabres and plans to join the team in the summer. He said he won't be reporting to the team's AHL affiliate, but will finish school and report to Buffalo's summer development camp in July.

"That was important to me," Schaller said of earning his degree.

Schaller said he will train on his own and work with skating coaches before reporting to Buffalo with the intent of earning a roster spot with the Sabres in the fall.

Schaller's rights were not owned by any team, so he was able to negotiate with all teams. He attended development camps with the Calgary Flames and Chicago Blackhawks in past summers and said there were 10 teams that talked with him during the season. He said his final decision came down to Winnipeg and Buffalo.

"Buffalo seemed like the right fit," Schaller said. "I've been talking to them through the year and when the season ended, things got more serious. It all came together pretty quick."

Schaller, who went to Merrimack High School before spending a year with the New England Huskies of the Eastern Junior Hockey League, is a 6-foot-2, 210-pound center who said he always admired the style of Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins.

"He's dynamite at his position as a lock down centerman who can score," Schaller said.

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