NHL free agency news: Sabres sign Jeff Skinner to massive deal

The Sabres have locked up one of their most productive players.

Buffalo agreed to an eight-year deal worth around $9 million in average annual value with Jeff Skinner, the team announced Friday.

Skinner, 27, is coming off of a career-high 40 goals with the Sabres last season.

It was his first year in Buffalo as the Sabres acquired him from the Hurricanes in 2018 for Cliff Pu and three draft picks.

Skinner is a perennial 30-goal scorer having eclipsed the mark four times since coming into the league as a rookie in 2010.

There was a question whether the Sabres would extend the winger because of how his season ended.

Skinner scored 30 goals before the All-Star break, but finished with just 10 over his final 34 games.

The question was whether Skinner was the player who showed up in the first half of the season or the second.

Buffalo is clearly banking on the fact he is the man they saw in the first half and want to keep him on the roster alongside the team’s hopeful future MVP in Jack Eichel and last year’s No. 1 pick in Rasmus Dahlin.