Jason Botterill said he’s hoping to have a contract agreement in place with Robin Lehner during the next month. The goaltender’s arbitration hearing will serve as a motivating factor.
Lehner and center Johan Larsson will file for arbitration, their agent told The Buffalo News on Wednesday. The deadline for players to file is 5 p.m. Wednesday. Hearings are usually held in late July or early August.
Last season, Lehner went 23-26-8 with a .920 save percentage, which ranked 12th in the NHL.
The 25-year-old restricted free agent made $3.15 million, which equals the qualifying offer submitted by the Sabres last month. There are 25 goalies scheduled to make at least $4 million next season, including 16 who will earn at least $5 million.
"They understand our position," Botterill said Friday of Lehner and his agent, Craig Oster. "We’re looking forward to trying to find a way to get a contract done with him and move forward on the season.
"Obviously, it still continues to be a feeling-out process for myself and Robin trying to get to know each other, but we’ve had a good couple conversations, and Craig Oster and I have a very good relationship. We’ve worked on many a deal together, and I certainly have a firm belief that we’ll get something done here over the next month or so."
Larsson played just 36 games last season after dislocating his elbow and wrist Dec. 31. He had six goals and 11 points while serving as the checking-line center.
The 25-year-old made $950,000 on a one-year deal. He has a $997,500 qualifying offer.
Fellow restricted free agents Zemgus Girgensons, Nathan Beaulieu and Evan Rodrigues also have the option to file for arbitration. The Sabres and their players can negotiate new deals until the start of the arbitration hearing.