Things have not been going well for the Sabres of late, and losing Jeff Skinner to free agency - if it were to happen - could be another blow to the franchise.
Bob McKenzie had a Friday morning radio hit on Montreal’s TSN 690.
Following a discussion on what might be in store for the Sabres this summer, the Insider was asked if he expects Skinner to go to market.
“No, I think they’re trying to sign him,” indicated McKenzie. “The negotiations are on. I think he’d like to stay in Buffalo because he likes the idea of playing with Eichel. It’s close to his Toronto home. He’s had a very productive year. So then it’s just a matter of sorting out the contract.
“Obviously when he was shooting the lights out he’d be looking for top dollar. Now that he’s slowed down, he’ll still be looking for top dollar because as you say, he’s probably going to end up being a 40-goal scorer and people pay for those numbers.
“So my guess is he’s going to want a long-term deal, probably with something that begins with a 9 in terms of $9 million-plus. I’m sure the Sabres are looking at it and thinking, ‘Boy, we’d really like to try and do this for no more than 8 - something that begins with an 8, $8 million-plus.’ We’ll see if they can come to an agreement on that before the end of the season, or whether he carries over and goes to market.
“But again, there’ll be pressure on the Sabres here because he’s been such a big part of everything they’ve done this year. Yes, they’re out of it, but where would they be if they didn’t have Skinner. That’s something I’m not sure that the Sabres want to contemplate for next year.
“So Skinner is in what I would think is a somewhat advantageous negotiating position, even though the Sabres are kind of going down the pipe here.”
Skinner is in the last season of a six-year, $34.35 million contract, and he can become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Elliotte Friedman also shared his thoughts on Skinner and the Sabres earlier in the morning.
Contract-related info via CapFriendly