When he was officially announced as the next Sabres head coach, one of the first orders of business general manager Jason Botterill wanted Ralph Krueger to accomplish was establishing a relationship with Jeff Skinner, who is scheduled to become a free agent of July 1.
And, in his first phone call with the winger, Krueger said he got the sense that Buffalo was a place Skinner still wanted to be.
“I felt that he really loved to be here. That he was happy to be here,“ Krueger said of the tone and direction of his initial phone call with Skinner.
Krueger further explained how he’d use Skinner’s skillset and talent to help the team. But, Krueger also acknowledged, “Jason (Botterill) has complete control of that process, and it’ll happen for what is best for the Sabres in the end.“
As we reported throughout the week, discussion continue dialogue remains positive as the Sabres continue to try and lock up one of the premiere wingers in the league.
To add to what I reported over the weekend with Jeff Skinner and the #Sabres, I am told both sides “continue to have positive dialogue.” https://t.co/39y0qGbtBW — Nick Filipowski (@NEWS4_NICK) June 4, 2019
“Both sides want to get a deal. I think it’s been a very good relationship and we’ve continued the dialogue going. I understand people want a deal done as of yesterday,“ Botterill told reporters on Wednesday. “We want him to be a part of our group moving forward here and we’ve always tried to look at our group and add to our group versus trying to replace.“
When asked about reports whether the Sabres and Skinner were close on a new deal, Botterill laughed and reiterated a deal is never done, until it’s done.