Dreger on Skinner: ‘He’s going to get paid’

Jeff Skinner is taking full advantage of his contract year to pile up points with his new team, but how soon might that new extension be signed?

Darren Dreger had a radio hit on The Instigators Friday morning on Buffalo’s WGR 550, and was asked when the Sabres would begin discussions with Skinner’s camp, or if they had already.

“I’d be surprised if they haven’t already engaged, to be fair,” said Dreger. “And that’s just common practice. You have your preliminary discussions and then they get a little bit more aggressive when both sides are comfortable in doing that. But it’s in Jeff Skinner’s interest to just focus on what he’s doing because he’s been terrific for the Buffalo Sabres, as you guys can plainly see.

“He’s a classic example for me of sometimes players just needing a fresh start. Now, it’s not like he was toiling in Carolina or falling into an abyss there, but every time his name would come up in a trade rumor, there was always that lingering history, right. ‘Well, what about his issues with concussions. Is his health going to be sustainable.’ All of those things. Well, you can say that about any player.

“God willing Jeff Skinner remains healthy, but what we can see is why he was drafted where he was. And he’s going to get paid. I think that the Buffalo Sabres most definitely are going to have an appetite to extend him, but I don’t think they’re at a point yet where they’ve worked out all of the numbers.”

Skinner is in the final season of his six-year, $34.35 million contract and can become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

During the preseason, Dreger had noted this on the contract situation:

“Both sides essentially agreed, ‘Let’s get the season going. Let’s see how Jeff is fitting in with the Buffalo Sabres.’”

Skinner has 11 goals and seven assists through 16 games, and has been clearly thriving with Jack Eichel and Jason Pominville.

As the conversation on WGR continued, Dreger was asked about the points comparable of Evander Kane with Skinner on the contract front.

“Do you think that they’re the same type of player, and do you think they’re looking at the same type of payday?”

Kane signed a seven-year, $49 million contract extension with the San Jose Sharks in May.

“They might be looking at a similar payday,” allowed Dreger. “I don’t think they’re the same type of player, but I mean what you have is the pretty obvious chemistry that exists, particularly on that line with Eichel and Pominville.

“That 5-5 goal last night - it was a tap-in for Jeff Skinner, but how many times over the course of the year do you see a goal scored that quickly off the draw in the fashion that it was. So things are going well for them.

“But Jeff Skinner, as long as he continues to play the way he’s playing, he’s going to earn a big paycheck. Is it in the vicinity of Evander Kane? Is it slightly higher than that? I think it’s a little too soon to say, but if you get to the midway point of the season for the Buffalo Sabres and his production hasn’t dropped a little bit, maybe the number is a little bit higher than that.”

Contract-related info via CapFriendly