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Price of Doing Business hitting Buffalo

When you’re a General Manager like Jason Botterill who knows his seat is starting to get extremely warm in entering a make or break season for an impatient owner that has a history of paying executives, coaches not to work, you’ll get stuck in a situation Botterill now finds himself in.

The price of doing business when your job is on line can get rather expensive.

It started with the coaching hire and is now spreading to negotiations with Jeff Skinner.

After Alain Vigneault [hide] wasn’t even interested in interviewing when the job was Vigneault’s if he wanted it and the same for Todd McLellan who spurned Buffalo for Los Angeles, Botterill went out and gave Ralph Krueger $3.75 million per season. The hire isn’t being questioned, it’s the near $4 million a year payday Buffalo dished out to Krueger who was most recently a soccer executive.

Now Buffalo is in the final stages of completing an 8 year extension with Jeff Skinner.

Those who know Botterill will say it has to pain him to give Skinner the contract he’s about to give him, an 8 year deal expected to come in around $70-$72 million, but for Botterill it’s the price of doing business for the situation he’s in.

In the short-term, the alternative of seeing Skinner walk is far worse for the Sabres than the long-term pain that contract is going to bring the organization. It’s going to be a really bad contract.

For Skinner personally, eventually landing in Buffalo last August became a brilliant strategy from him and his reps at Newport Sports. They always sought a situation last summer where Skinner would be guaranteed to play a top-line role but there’s no way they could have imagined things would have worked out like this where Skinner’s about to become a $9 million a year player or close to it.[/hide]

Pittsburgh was in the mix for Skinner at the 2018 draft and were among three teams Carolina was entertaining offers for at the time. Some say Pittsburgh was in fact the leader in the clubhouse until things got close to the finish line and To read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”!

Karlsson to stun the hockey world?

Erik Karlsson by-passing the free agency interview period to not hear from the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers would be an absolute stunner to the hockey world. NHL executives have believed for months that Karlsson has always wanted to exhaust every avenue to try to make it work with the Tampa Bay Lightning at a discount price (his top choice for over a year a now), with the Rangers a strong Plan B before he considered circling back to San Jose.

Yet, Karlsson appears to actually be giving San Jose a harder look at staying in San Jose than many assumed.

“The word is that Erik Karlsson is taking a long, hard look at deciding if he wants to stay in San Jose,” NHL Insider Elliott Friedman during the ‘Headlines’ segment Saturday on Hockey Night in Canada. “And I think we’re going to know, in about a week, if he’s going to stay or if he’s going to investigate his other free agency options.
“He wants to win, the Sharks are perennially in it [and] they’ve made a good impression on him.”

If Karlsson re-ups with San Jose this early, NHL sources contend it’s likely Karlsson’s reps have drilled down enough intel already that Tampa Bay just isn’t that interested in making it work and the Rangers have cooled on him a bit in that the $9-$10 million a year payday San Jose is willing to give him, isn’t going to be coming from New York.

Microscope on Ray Shero

A fascinating storyline this summer will be how Ray Shero handles the Taylor Hall situation.

Hall eligible for an 8 year extension July 1, isn’t signing an extension anytime soon.

Devils officials have sensed even as far back as last summer when Hall won the Hart Trophy that Hall was going to be a tough sign for geography reasons and some teams say Shero quietly talked about Hall to a couple teams at the deadline to potentially set the framework for a summer deal.

Hall has no plans to demand a trade and has communicated to the front office he’s open minded and wants to see how quick they can build this back up before he decides on his future.

Yet, few should be surprised if leaks come out at some point this summer that ‘Hall would signing with these four teams’ if they traded for him.

One thing the Devils have been trying to sell Hall on is stability from ownership to the GM to the coach in giving head coach John Hynes an extension months ago in the middle of a brutal season and Ray Shero getting extended soon after, along with the organization investing heavy in the hockey operations department.


— Every summer there’s speculation that an offer sheet is coming for a big name RFA but it’s always just talk.

Count Philadelphia a leader in the clubhouse, though, as the biggest threat to make things at least uncomfortable for the Leafs when it comes to Mitch Marner’s plans to hear from other teams. Chuck Fletcher was brought in to go big and he’ll be leading the charge in chasing Marner.

— Speaking of the Flyers, tonight they acquired center Kevin Hayes from the Winnipeg Jets for a 5th round pick. Hayes will be an UFA on July 1 and Philadelphia gets a three week head start before the interview period. A top priority has been adding a second tier level center to take pressure off Nolan Patrick.

— The Leafs are getting significant trade action on winger Kasperi Kapanen, a pending RFA. Carolina has made multiple attempts to acquire Kapanen, Toronto has all intentions of keeping Kapanen with the hopes of doing a bridge deal but that’s the type of player with Toronto’s cap crunch that multiple teams should be looking hard at Kapanen for an offer sheet.

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