The Buffalo Sabres signed restricted free agent defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani to a one-year contract on Thursday.

Gragnani, 24, played in nine games for the Sabres during the 2010-11 regular season, but had a breakout series against the Philadelphia Flyers in the opening round of the playoffs. He led the Sabres in scoring with 7 points (1 goal, 6 assists) and was third on the team in ice time, averaging nearly 22 minutes per contest in the seven-game series.

A third-round pick in 2005, Gragnani also had 12 goals and 60 points for Portland in the American Hockey League, and now has racked up 47 goals and 206 points in the past four seasons at that level.

Gragnani’s path to a full-time job with Buffalo remains in question. The Sabres added free agent Christian Ehrhoff and traded for Robyn Regehr this summer, and now have eight NHL defensemen under contract. The Sabres are also above the salary cap ceiling, according to capgeek.com, but they have until the start of the season to correct that.