By Brandon J. Koch
Some more insight on the progress in negotiations to get a a deal done for Jeff Skinner and the Sabres.
In his weekly segment with the Instigators, Darren Dreger talked about any updates on negotiations:
“My sense is Botterill and company, they’re working pretty aggressively with Newport to try and come to terms with Jeff Skinner,” indicated Dreger. “I’m not saying that a deal is imminent, but I know that it’s top priority for Botterill and the Sabres now.”
Dreger was asked by the guys if there had to be a decision made by the February 25th trade deadline:
“I don’t think that they’re there yet,” said the insider. “I think it’d be real tough, wouldn’t it, to roll the dice.”
“But in saying that, the gap would have to be like the grand canyon to make a determination that you’re just not going to be able to get it done.
“And you can also in the process get a feel for what the player is thinking. If the player tells you and I’m not saying Skinner has hinted this at all, I’d be surprised if he has, if you get the sense from the player or his representative that there’s a strong chance that this guy wants to test free agency, well isn’t that a pretty big red flag for the management group.
“Where then you go, ‘Alright, we’re not playing that game. We’ve made our best offer. If you’re not willing to work off that, then we’ve got no choice. We’ve got to maximize our property and our asset here.’
“I don’t feel that with the Skinner negotiation, and it’s pretty obvious why. He’s been such a good fit with the Buffalo Sabres, and Jack Eichel is deserving of a fair bit of credit as to why, but the Sabres have been a great fit for Jeff Skinner. Why would you rock the boat by going into free agency when you’ve got a best-case scenario. He’s going to get the term. He’s going to get the money. And he’s got the hockey side covered with Buffalo.
“So I’d be really surprised if they can’t come to terms.”
You have to feel at this point that Skinner will get the max number of years between $8-$9 million dollars a year. Skinner and Buffalo are the perfect fit and he’s talked about many times how much the area has grown on him since coming being traded.
Credit to Chad DeDominicis of Die By The Blade, for reporting this week that both sides began preliminary talks.