One of the biggest stories that Buffalo Sabres fans will be keeping their eyes on this summer and possibly heading in to next season are contract extensions for both Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart.
Today, at the team’s final day of development camp, Sabres GM Jason Botterill shared some information on how those contract talks, among others, are progressing. This, from NHL.com’s Joe Yerdon:
“Our conversations with Jack have gone extremely well. We'll continue those throughout the summer here … and see if we can find a common ground, because from our standpoint we certainly want to get something done and the only thing we've heard from Jack and his agents is they want to get something done too.”
This is good news for Sabres fans who are (unnecessarily) fearful that Eichel might bolt from Buffalo. Botterill has plenty of experience negotiating big contracts with star players thanks to his time in Pittsburgh, and the recent signing of Connor McDavid for eight years at $100 million provides some baseline for what an Eichel extension may look like.
Most fans have thought that a Reinhart extension would quickly follow Eichel’s, but it appears that won’t be the case. Again, from NHL.com:
"It's a scenario where we're excited with Sam, but I don't think something from a contract standpoint will happen this summer. We have him under contract during the year and we'll see how things play out and go from there.”
The hesitation on Botterill’s part to commit to diving into a Reinhart extension likely means one of two things - either he might be using Reinhart and his as-of-now cheap contract as trade bait, or he wants to see how the young forward progresses in his third full NHL season. The latter is more likely, as Reinhart did not show the level of improvement in his second season as many expected. Giving him some extra motivation heading in to the season to prove that he deserves a big contract isn’t a bad thing.
Botterill also mentioned that he’s in talks with Robin Lehner on a new contract, hoping to get something done before Lehner’s arbitration hearing on July 27.