Speaking with reporters on Sunday, Jason Botterill said he believed there was a 100 percent chance he could sign Jeff Skinner to a new contract.
The Sabres’ general manager originally traded for the winger ahead of the season and skating along Jack Eichel, enjoyed a career year with 40 goals.
Although discussions of a new deal were on-going throughout the season, with the offseason now here, there still isn’t any indication the two sides are close on a contract. Now, Skinner could become one of the premiere scoring wingers available when free agency opens on July 1.
“Now that the season is over, questions are going to start coming.” Skinner said on Monday. “It’s been two or three days. It’s not enough time to give the proper thought it deserves. It deserves some reflection just like any season and we’ll take the time to do that the right way. But, yeah, to answer your question, I like it here. I love it here. I like the guys, I like the city. I had a great time.
“It deserves a lot of thought. A lot of reflection on both parts and in order for that process to play itself out it’s going to take some time and it’s not going to happen in the first couple days.
Asked whether the team’s collapse and losing in the second half would impact his decision, Skinner said it was “tough to put a firm percentage on it.”
He continued, “I think for me, I want to win. Obviously it’s not a good feeling where we are right now. We didn’t accomplish our goal,” Skinner said. “I think you go through a season and if you don’t accomplish your goal, you’re disappointed. It’s not a good feeling. You go into the summer and reflect and fitgure out what you can do to help the team next year to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
At the end of the day, even captain Jack Eichel knows the NHL is a business and Skinner has to do what’s in his own best interest. The star centerman would also like to continue to skate alongside the all-star winger.
“Obviously, we love Skins. He’s an unbelievable person and unbelievable hockey player. We want him in the room just as much as you guys do. He’s really close with all the guys, he adds a great dynamic to the team you can’t say enough good things about him.
He scored 40 goals this year on top of everything. We definitley would love having him in the room but that stuff is going to take care of itself this summer.”