Dreger: Sabres and Skinner won't have contract talks until mid-season

TSN hockey insider Darren Dreger talked about Jeff Skinner's future with The Instigators

Joe DiBiase
November 21, 2018 - 3:26 pm

Photo: Timothy T. Ludwig - USA TODAY Sports

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There are two big questions with the Buffalo Sabres right now:

  1. Are they actually this good this season?
  2. Will they re-sign Jeff Skinner to a long-term contract?

To answer the first question, the Sabres are currently riding a six-game winning streak, which is the best stretch of consecutive wins in a season since the 2009-10 season. Buffalo currently sits at 13-6-2 in the standings with 28 points, and are just two points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

However, we still sit just 21 games into the 2018-19 season. To call the Sabres a "good team" right now may be a bit too early.

As for the second question, TSN hockey insider Darren Dreger continues to give us some clarity on that situation. He joined Andrew Peters, Craig Rivet and Martin Biron on The Instigators for his weekly visit on Wednesday and said he's heard Skinner contract talks won't pick up for a little bit.

"I checked in on this in training camp," Dreger said. "I believe that both sides, the agent, the player, and the Buffalo Sabres made an agreement prior to the start of the season that they weren't going to have any contract talks or discussions until the midway point of the season. So, around Christmas, maybe shortly before, shortly after, whatever it is. That doesn't mean that they're going to grind out hard negotiations at that point, that's just a conversation of, 'Well we like where Jeff's at. We think he can be a valuable piece of the Sabres moving forward. Where are you guys at?'"

Skinner is in the final year of a six-year deal with an average annual value of $5.725 million on the salary cap. At age 26 and on pace to set career-high totals in goals and points, Skinner will surely be looking for a big pay day.

The Sabres already have a good amount of salary tied up in forwards. Next season, they already have over $31 million committed to the front end. That includes six forwards costing over a $3 million (Jack Eichel, Kyle Okposo, Patrik Berglund, Sam Reinhart, Vladimir Sobotka, and Conor Sheary). Skinner and Jason Pominville are unrestricted free agents, while Johan Larsson, Zemgus Girgensons, Remi Elie, Evan Rodrigues, Nathan Beaulieu, and Jake McCabe are restricted free agents.

You can hear Dreger's entire conversation with The Instigators below:

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