The Buffalo Sabres signed forward Jeff Skinner to an eight-year, $72 million extension on Friday evening, locking up the pending free agent before he could hit the market.
General manager Jason Botterill told reporters Wednesday that talks between the sides had been positive, and “through the whole process, both sides want to get a deal.”
Skinner, 27, was set to become a free agent this summer after playing out the final year of a six-year, $34.35 million contract. He arrived in Buffalo in August via trade from the Carolina Hurricanes, in exchange for a 2019 second-round pick and third- and sixth-rounders in 2020.
The former Calder Trophy winner thrived in his first season with the Sabres, scoring a career-high 40 goals and adding 23 assists to match his career high of 63 points. He also played in all 82 games for the second straight year and the third time in four seasons.
Skinner spent his first eight seasons in Carolina, scoring at least 20 goals in six of those campaigns. He has 204 goals and 175 assists in 579 career games since the Hurricanes took him seventh overall in the 2010 draft.