Sabres' Botterill is still confident he'll come to an agreement with Jeff Skinner

New head coach Ralph Krueger is operating like Skinner is a Sabre

Paul Hamilton
June 05, 2019 - 11:51 am

Photo courtesy of the Buffalo Sabres

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - Jason Botterill is always pretty vague when talking about Jeff Skinner’s contract because both sides agreed they weren’t going to negotiate in the media. I did ask the Sabres GM if he still has a high level of confidence that he’ll be able to get an agreement done for Skinner and he said, “Without a doubt.”

The talks have been going strong since the NHL Scouting Combine. Botterill said, “I would say discussions continue to go very well, but you never have a deal done until there’s a signature on there, but through the whole process, both sides want to get a deal.”

Many fans feel there’s no chance that Skinner is coming back because the process has taken so long. Botterill said, “People always want a deal done as of yesterday, but both sides have understood that we wanted to get the head coach in place and then we could ramp up our discussions and we’ve certainly done that and I feel good where it’s at right now and hopefully we can finalize something.”

During the final week of June, teams will be able to talk to and negotiation with unrestricted free agents. Botterill acknowledges that anything is a possibility, “There’s always that option for the player, he’s certainly earned that right. He’s earned the opportunity to listen to other teams if he wants to go to that, but in my dialogs with Newport Sports, it’s been to try to find a solution before then.”

Skinner has apparently done his research on his new coach Ralph Krueger. Botterill said, “I underestimated that touch points that Jeff had with other players around the National Hockey League that had interacted with Ralph I think has been very positive and I think that’s always one of the best recruiting tools, the power of the players.”

As we all know, Krueger had a long discussion with Skinner after he was hired. Krueger said, “I work on the basis that Jeff Skinner is a Buffalo Sabre and that’s how our conversation went.”

Krueger said there were things about the conversation with Skinner that allowed him to be confident about Skinner. He said, “His tone, his voice when it became about the past and the future and he was comfortable on that line and I initiated the call in that way and it never went on another direction and Jeff had the opportunity to change direction if he wanted to.

“I felt that he really loved to be here and is happy to be here.”

Comments ()