Friedman on Skinner contract negotiations

22 goals and counting for Jeff Skinner, who must be looking forward to a big payday this summer.

Elliotte Friedman had a Friday morning radio hit on Toronto’s Sportsnet 590, and was asked if the Sabres were currently trying to negotiate a contract extension for the pending unrestricted free agent winger.

“I believe those discussions have begun, or at least they’ve committed to doing it,” indicated Friedman. “It’s one of those things you’re kind of in a grey area in terms of where exactly they are, but the plan I heard was to start talking around now to start having some discussions. So I do believe there is either a commitment to do it, or they’ve done it. I can’t tell you it’s begun, but they’ve at least committed that it’s going to start around this time.

“You mentioned it, 22 goals now. Boy, what’s a 40-goal season worth in today’s NHL?”

It was mentioned to Friedman that Skinner is shooting at 22.7 percent, with a career average of 11.3, and was asked if $42 million over seven years as a minimum would be set “way low.”

“Too low,” said Friedman. “($6 million per season) is too low.

“You know what the other thing that’s interesting about he leads the league in overtime goals this year. When he was in Carolina, I think the last three seasons, when he was on the ice in overtime I think they were outscored 11-4. So not only is his shooting way up, as you mentioned, but also just - I don’t know if it’s his luck or his fortune or whatever it is - he’s been completely different when it comes to overtime. Much more successful than he’s been in the past.

“Someone was telling me, ‘Why didn’t Carolina ever play him in overtime if he’s this good?’ And so I looked it up, and I found they played him in overtime a lot and they got tubed. So it just shows you how much things can change from team to team.

“The other reason he’s going to get paid is because he’s proven if you put him with an elite-level player like Jack Eichel, he’s going to score. So if Buffalo doesn’t keep him - and I’m sure they will make every effort to do it - somebody else is going to look at him and say, ‘We’re going to put him with our elite guy and we’re going to have a great tandem.’

“So 6 is way too low. I’d be shocked if the number was only 6.”

Skinner is in the final season of a six-year, $34.35 million contract that carries a cap hit of $5.725 million, and also contains a no-move clause.

Contract-related info via CapFriendly