While the Sabres have discussed a potential contract extension for winger Jeff Skinner throughout the season, a deal has yet to be reached. Speaking to reporters, including WKBW’s Matt Bove, GM Jason Botterill indicated that both sides are still focusing on getting a deal done, suggesting that Skinner hasn’t shifted his focus to free agency just yet. The 26-year-old got off to a strong start with 30 goals over his first 44 games before cooling off considerably, scoring just 10 over the last 38 contests. John Vogl of The Athletic examined (subscription required) some possible comparables for Skinner, noting that the new deal that Mark Stone signed upon his trade to Vegas (eight years, $76MM) is one that his representatives will likely want to use in discussions.
Elsewhere in the East:
- Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall and Thomas Vanek are unsure as to whether or not they want to play next season, notes Ted Kulfan of The Detroit News. It was believed that Kronwall was likely to retire after 2018-19 but he wound up logging nearly 20 minutes a night over 79 games, suggesting that he’s still capable of being an important piece for Detroit. Meanwhile, Vanek finished with a respectable 36 points in 64 games but indicated that his family will play a large role in determining whether or not he wants to play a 15th NHL season. Both players are set to be unrestricted free agents in July.
- The Flyers announced (Twitter link) that winger James van Riemsdyk will suit up for Team USA at the upcoming World Championships. It will be his first time suiting up in the tournament since he played a pair of games back in 2011. His return to Philadelphia was a reasonable success as he finished fifth in team scoring despite missing 16 games due to injuries while his goal per game rate was only slightly below 2017-18 when he scored a career-best 36 goals.