BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — After first hiring a new coach, Sabres general manager Jason Botterill addressed his next most pressing offseason need by re-signing leading scorer Jeff Skinner.
And it came at a hefty price.
Skinner became the Sabres’ second-highest paid player — behind captain Jack Eichel — after signing an eight-year, $72 million contract, the team announced Friday night.
The deal was reached three weeks after Ralph Krueger was hired to take over as coach, after Phil Housley was fired following two seasons. And it comes three weeks before the 27-year-old forward was eligible to become an unrestricted free agent.
The Sabres had an edge in re-signing Skinner because under NHL rules they were allowed to offer him an eight-year contract. He would have been limited to signing a maximum seven-year deal as a free agent.
Skinner is coming off a career-best season in which he scored 40 goals and finished third on the team with 63 points in 82 games.
Buffalo acquired Skinner in a trade with Carolina in August. He’s a ninth-year player who has topped 30 goals four times and was the NHL’s…