The Buffalo Sabres got a hugely important piece of business done this week when they locked up star winger Jeff Skinner to a long term contract. The 8 year deal that will see Skinner earn a staggering average annual value of $9 million per season was undoubtedly an overpay, however the Buffalo Sabres were unquestionably comfortable flexing some of their cap space to keep Skinner away from free agency. Not to mention with the salary cap projected to increase yet again, the Sabres and general manager Jason Botterill are no doubt expecting the deal to look much better in the next several seasons.
Interestingly enough though it sounds like the Buffalo Sabres intend to continue to make moves in the offseason, whether that be via the free agency route or through trades over the upcoming offseason. On Saturday TSN National Hockey League insider Pierre LeBrun confirmed that the Sabres were looking for 2 more significant pieces over the summer, and on top of that he also hinted at one potential move that we could see coming from Botterill and the Buffalo Sabres.
"Speaking of the Buffalo Sabres, they hope not to be done," said LeBrun on TSN's Insider Trading. "They are eyeing both a second line center and a top six winger on the market either via trade or through free agency. One name I can throw in there Jason Zucker, who has almost been traded twice by Minnesota over the last six months, he is a guy that the Buffalo Sabres have kicked tires on."
Of course everyone by now has heard about the botched trade between Minnesota Wild general manager Paul Fenton and Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford, a trade that would have seen Zucker swapped for Penguins star forward Phil Kessel, so it is unsurprising to learn that the Wild are still shopping him. LeBrun however did not comment on what the Buffalo Sabres might use to entice the Wild to pull the trigger on such a move, they certainly do not have a forward the level of Kessel that they would be prepared to give up.
It seems clear that this would be an attempt to add some offensive firepower around the aforementioned Skinner and star forward Jack Eichel, and that raises a lot of question about what the Wild may want in return from the Sabres.