Brady Tkachuk, Buffalo Sabres, Colin White, Drake Batherson, Erik Brannstrom, Erik Karlsson, Evan Rodrigues, Filip Gustavsson, Jack Hughes, Jake Gardiner, Jeff Skinner, Kaapo Kakko, Kyle Okposo, Marco Scandella, NHL Free Agents, NHL Rumors, Ottawa Senators, Rasmus Ristolainen, San Jose Sharks, Thomas Chabot, Toronto Maple Leafs

NHL Rumors: Karlsson, Gardiner, Sabres, and Senators

The Buffalo Sabres need to not overpay for Jeff Skinner. Jake Gardiner could get around $6.5 million if he goes to free agency.
Costs for Karlsson and Gardiner on the open market could be …

Chris Johnston of Sportsnet: If defenseman Erik Karlsson doesn’t re-sign with the San Jose Sharks, he could be looking a seven-year contract extension around $12 million per season.

Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner could be looking long-term deal in the $6.5 million range. He’s been dealing with a disc issue in the back that could worry some.

Keys to the Buffalo Sabres offseason

Greg Wyshynski and Chris Peters of ESPN: Looking at the keys to the Buffalo Sabres offseason.

Smart contracts for Jeff Skinner and Evan Rodrigues: The Sabres didn’t give up a lot to acquire Jeff Skinner so it wouldn’t be a disaster if they weren’t able to re-sign him. He does like playing in Buffalo and with Jack Eichel.

Pending restricted free agent Rodrigues was an asset to their bottom six.

It won’t be easy for the Sabres to not overpay to get Jeff Skinner locked up on a long-term deal.

Blue-line decisions: The Sabres have some good options in place but have some dilemmas in Rasmus Ristolainen and Marco Scandella. Scandella has a year left at $4 million. Ristolainen has a $5.4 million cap hit through 2022. Ristolainen’s offensive upside could net them a top-six forward if they decide to move him.

GM Jason Botterill needs a home run this offseason: Can Botterill be able to find a trade partner to take on Kyle Okposo – $6 million per through 2023 and trade protection?

Adding a top-six winger through a trade or in free agency.

Winning the draft lottery: Being able to draft Jack Hughes or Kaapo Kakko would definitely help.

Three- to five-year plan for the Senators

Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun: The Ottawa Senators are able to sign defenseman Thomas Chabot to a long-term extension after July 1st. GM Pierre Dorion to season ticket holders earlier this month.

“Our plan is to keep all of our young stars on long-term contracts when the opportunity comes to negotiate with them. There’s no doubt, I don’t know how I can be clearer on that, we want to make sure the Chabot’s, Tkachuk’s, the White’s and after that, (Drake Batherson, Filip Gustavsson and Erik Brannstrom) will all be in Ottawa for a long, long time.”

The Senators have a three- to five-year plan to be contending for the Cup.

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