Sabres Lock Down Skinner with Eight-Year Deal

While the contract may be more than you hoped it would be, Jason Botterill stared down his most important target of the offseason and didn’t miss.

Jeff Skinner agreed to an eight-year, $9 million contract on Friday night, ending a will he or won’t he saga that feels like it stretched on for a decade. It’s the contract most fans had accepted as the going rate months ago, yet the negotiations appeared to drag over the last two weeks, likely due to the last few deal points each side was pulling for. It was an agonizing wait, particularly once Bob McKenzie kicked things off with his report on NBCSN which Jeremy White soon followed with a report of his own later that week. From that point on, fans were left refreshing Twitter waiting for McKezine, Darren Dreger or Elliotte Friedman to confirm the deal was done, only for the reports to continue for another week.

That week led to a fair bit of hand wringing as cryptic updates bred more doubt as it felt like the two sides were speeding towards whatever arbitrary deadline they had set. In the end it all got sorted out, for the term and value we’d all been expecting for months. They could’ve saved some fan frustration by getting the contract done at some point in May, but now that it’s done we can look forward to the next pieces the Sabres will need to acquire. Continue reading

Playing Catch Up on the Last Few Weeks

It’s gotten a little too easy to procrastinate on blog ideas lately. Between the Sabres acting hopeless, new kiddos and other responsibilities, tossing musings up on this site just hasn’t taken precedent. In an effort to remedy that, I wanted to take some time to play catch up on everything that’s gone down over the last month or two.

Jeff Skinner’s contract negotiations have fans running constant vigils on Twitter, the Sabres have a new coach and Ryan O’Reilly remains a talking point for people who don’t have anything better to bring up. In order to play catch up on most of this, I offer you this (hardly) brief rundown of thoughts and reaction to what’s been happening in the world of hockey over the last few weeks. Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 7.31 – Waiting on Skinner News

After an extended layoff we’re back at it and playing catch up on a few topics. After a brief rundown of the Cup Final, we hit on the Sabres’ hiring of Ralph Kruger before diving head first into the Jeff Skinner contract negotiation.

You can listen to The Instigator Podcast on most podcast streaming services, including large providers such as iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio and TuneIn and most other third-party podcast streaming apps. You can find links to subscribe and rate the show below:

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Over-Thought: Wading into the Offseason Rumor Mill

Depending how things shake out over the next few days, Jason Botterill will have just missed out on having an awfully busy month of May. The Sabres’ head coaching vacancy has been filled by Ralph Krueger, Buffalo made their first free agent signing of the summer and reports indicate that Botterill is inching closer to an agreement with Jeff Skinner on a contract extension.

The scouting combine ought to help push trade negotiations further ahead and that’s with one potential blockbuster already hanging out there. The most recent 31 Thoughts blog offered up plenty of juicy talking points on trade rumors and more. Check it out here if you haven’t already. Continue reading

Over-Thought: Offseason Coming into Shape

As the Stanley Cup Finals creep closer, as does the draft and offseason. That means teams who missed the playoffs or those eliminated early are gearing up for roster changes. The most recent edition of 31 Thoughts had plenty of tidbits on those potential moves and in the newest OT, I take a look at a few that stood out.

If you haven’t read last week’s 31 Thoughts you can catch it here. Continue reading

Could First Round Exits Offer Sabres a Trade Partner?

The startling reality that faces the Sabres after yet another season without the playoffs is the club needs yet another round of big roster changes after their maneuvering over the past two summers has gone for naught.

Jason Botterill and Phil Housley’s first year saw ten new faces brought to Buffalo. They were just shy of repeating that figure again this season. While it’s not out of the question that the team they inherited was already heading to the basement before the pair stepped in. The franchise was already suffering in the wake of below average drafting and owned a handful of bad contracts while lacking depth. That they wound up finishing worse than Tim Murray and Dan Bylsma’s final year is perhaps more of an inevitability than a surprise. Regardless, Housley and Botterill will own the results of the last two seasons. It will all rest on Botterill’s feet and it remains to be seen whether he’ll be around to see the team climb back to respectability.

That leaves him will the difficult task of overhauling his roster for the third-straight summer. Last year’s overhaul brought only a minute improvement in the standings, buoyed by the 10-game win streak but destroyed by the January-to-April collapse. Does he have another trick up his sleeve, or will Botterill be resigned to a more conventional path to improvement?

Botterill’s best opportunity for unearthing talent at discount prices may come from targeting the teams run out of the first round of the playoffs. Teams like Pittsburgh who were frustrated at their early exit, or the Jets and Lightning whose cap situations will likely require trades to be made. Between tight cap situations and disappointing exits, there could be room for the Sabres to pounce. Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast 7.30 – Tippett Emerges in Sabres Coaching Search

Dave Tippett’s name was thrown into the Sabres coaching search ring this week after being mentioned in Elliotte Freidman’s 31 Thoughts. We run through the pros and cons of potentially hiring Tippett, discussing his background, his use of analytics and his accomplishments with Dallas and Arizona. We also spend some time trying to bust the myths surrounding collegiate prospects and free agency after Adam Fox’s trade from Carolina to New York. And despite our best efforts we do offer a quick opinion on the Brad Marchand incident as well.

You can listen to The Instigator Podcast on most podcast streaming services, including large providers such as iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio and TuneIn and most other third-party podcast streaming apps. You can find links to subscribe and rate the show below:

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