Victoria Royals star Kevin Sundher has an NHL contract in his back pocket.

Victoria Royals star Kevin Sundher has an NHL contract in his back pocket.

Sundher signs NHL deal with Sabres

When the dust settles on the Royals' WHL season, Kevin Sundher will start his pro career

The struggling Victoria Royals will have some big shoes to fill now that the Buffalo Sabres have confirmed this will be the final season for Kevin Sundher in the Western Hockey league. The Sabres signed Sundher to a three-year entry level contract on Thursday (Dec. 15).

The 5-foot-11, 184-pound forward is fifth in league scoring this season with 55 points (21 goals) in 35 games.

When the Royals season ends, Sundher will most likely join the Sabres’ AHL affiliate Rochester Americans.

Capgeek.com unofficially reports the contract at $615,000 for each of the first two years and $665,000 for the third year, should Sundher crack the NHL. He’d have an annual AHL salary of $65,000.

Sundher attended two Sabres training camps, registering as one of the five fastest skaters in the organization. He’s also become one of the best two-way players in the WHL and is easily the Royals’ MVP so far this season.

“Sundher’s a very good skater, whose offensive abilities make him a natural fit for our organization,” Sabres general manager Darcy Regier said on the team’s website. “With his progression over the last few seasons, his fast start this year is a very positive sign for his development.”

A native of Surrey, Sundher was drafted by the Sabres in the third round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, 75th overall.

The Royals entered the Christmas break with a 4-2 road loss to the Medicine Hat Tigers on Saturday (Dec. 17) and a 5-4 overtime loss to the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Friday.

The Royals pick up again in Portland for two games, Dec. 28 and 30, before returning to host the Calgary Hitmen on Jan. 3.