There is no off-days in the NHL, and Friday night was no different, as the Buffalo Sabres announced that they have signed Jeff Skinner to an 8-year extension.
What if means for Buffalo.
Buffalo now has their top 2 scorers locked up for the next 7 years, with Jack Eichel and Jeff Skinner. The issue is that they have $19M committed to those two players. Only Chicago, Edmonton, Los Angeles and Toronto have more money committed to two players. So what does $19M buy you these days? For the Sabres, it got them 68 goals, 77 assists, and a combined -11. Not fantastic if you are a Buffalo fan, but respectable, nonetheless.
Why I hate the deal.
Jeff Skinner was definitely holding all the aces in this deck. He is an unrestricted free agent, with a unique skill that is quintessential to a team’s success. That being said, I don’t see him as a $9M AAV guy. It sets a market for Wingers that could skew the landscape of the NHL. With a lot of top tier UFA Wingers, such as Artemi Panarin, Jordan Eberle, and Mats Zuccarello, this will drive the market for what players can for their bargaining. Beyond the great class of UFA’s, there is a trio of RFA Wingers, who could look at this deal and put their teams in an awkward situation. That trio, Mitch Marner, Brayden Point and Mikko Rantanen, will argue, strongly, to use Skinner’s price point as the starting point for their talks.
Why I love the deal.
There is a lot that has to be considered during a contract negotiation. The big thing for the team to consider is the finances and attraction for free agents and fans. For the player, they have to consider what is the best for his family and how he can maximize his value. With all those considerations outlined, let’s see how this deal transpired.
- Buffalo is not an attractive market for free agents. Many have stated that there is not a lot of activities for families and social life. It has a long winter and miserable snow storms.
- Jeff Skinner was a pending unrestricted free agent, and had the potential to drive the price up for the Buffalo Sabres.
- Buffalo had over $28M in available cap space.
With all those factors, the two sides were able to come together on a mutually beneficial deal.
While many outside fans will look at this deal and scoff at the Sabres for overpaying and skewing the market, I believe this was a great deal for Buffalo. They have to spend money somewhere, and getting a quality goal scorer, who probably would have gotten $8.5M on the open market, makes this a fantastic deal for them.
Stats provided by hockey-reference.com
Featured Image Credit: Nikos Michals