The Buffalo Sabres accomplished their biggest offseason task on Friday evening when it signed winger Jeff Skinner to a eight-year, $72MM extension. Regardless, despite being able to convince a top player to sign a long-term deal in Buffalo, there are a number of significant ramifications that go with the Sabres’ locking up the 27-year-old.
Skinner and Jack Eichel will now combine for 22.5 percent of the team’s salary cap, which is the sixth-highest number for teams’ top two players. While the Sabres have cap room to work with, the team may find themselves in trouble down the road, according to the Buffalo News’ Lance Lysowski. In fact, Buffalo general manager Jason Botterill may have trouble in a few years when he tries to sign some of the team’s other young pieces, including Sam Reinhart, Rasmus Dahlin, Brandon Montour and Casey Mittelstadt, which could give the team some issues with improving in the near future. All that for a team that didn’t come close to making the playoffs this past season.
- The Athletic’s Jon Vogl (subscription required) writes that the Sabres had no choice but to sign Skinner to long-term deal. While the scribe admits that the money is significant, the team couldn’t have handled losing their first-line winger, considering the significant amount of cap space the franchise has both this year and next and the near-impossible task of replacing him. Not signing him would have been worse than overpaying him. Regardless, this should give Botterill an extended chance to prove that he is a competent GM as he will have to assemble the rest of the team’s roster for the next few years, even if Skinner doesn’t pan out over the long haul.
- In a separate note, Lysowski also reports that the team is in discussions with forward Jason Pominville and are hoping to bring the veteran back on a cheaper deal. While no longer a top-six option, the 36-year-old Pominville has worked effectively as a bottom-six forward who can produce some offense, as he potted 16 goals last season. The Buffalo News’ Mike Harrington adds that Buffalo should offer him a one-year deal between $2-2.5MM and have him play a big role on the team’s fourth line as well as the penalty kill unit.
- Pierre LeBrun, in a notebook piece for The Athletic (subscription required), reports that Buffalo isn’t done making moves to improve its team this season. The Sabres are looking to add a second-line center and/or a top-six winger to its roster to improve its scoring for next season. LeBrun adds that one name that Buffalo has inquired on is Minnesota Wild winger Jason Zucker and he also wonders whether the team would consider taking on the contract of Kyle Turris in Nashville to fill their center void.