Connor McDavid has his money now. The Buffalo Sabres still intend to give Jack Eichel a good chunk of theirs as well.
General Manager Jason Botterill said Tuesday negotiations with his star player continue to progress as the team tries to get Eichel to sign a long-term extension.
"Our conversations with Jack and the group have gone extremely well," Botterill said in HarborCenter after the close of development camp. "We'll continue this throughout the summer and see if we can find a common ground because, from our standpoint, we certainly want to get something done. And everything we've heard from Jack and his agents is they want to get something done too."
McDavid got an eight-year, $100-million contract from the Oilers last week. The Sabres are likely interested in an eight-year extension for Eichel, the maximum under the CBA. It would make him the highest-paid player in franchise history and could approach $10 million a season when it kicks in for the 2018-19 campaign. Eichel is making the entry-level maximum of $925,000 plus bonuses this season.
The national profile of both the Sabres and Eichel will increase immeasurably this season with the team slated to play in the Winter Classic Jan. 1 in New York, so having Eichel signed long-term is clearly one of the franchise's key summer goals.
"For any player to be able to get a contract done for a star player, a player who's a face of the organization is great for our league," Botterill said. "Connor has had an amazing season and I'm sure people in Edmonton are very excited about having him under contract. I've been through some of those discussions before whenever we did Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin or Kris Letang. You're excited to get an elite player under contract."
As for Sam Reinhart, the No. 2 overall pick from 2014 is also coming up on the final year of his entry-level deal. But unlike Eichel, the team is not talking extension at this time.
"We're excited with Sam but I don't think Sam from a contract standpoint will happen this summer," Botterill said. "We have him under contract another year and we'll see how things play out."
In other news:
---Botterill said talks continue with goaltender Robin Lehner, who has a July 27 arbitration hearing scheduled
"Hopefully we can get something done before then," Botterill said. "And I think both sides have been very amicable. I don't see any reason why something can't get done."
---Botterill said the league has reached a quiet period although he's still talking to a few GMs and is still following the market of unrestricted free agents.
"You always want to add, you always want to make the team better," he said. "We were very excited about making a couple of trades there and some of the players we were able to get on July 1 to help from the depth standpoint of our organization. My guess is things will heat up a little bit more come Fall time."
---Coach Phil Housley said he has one more assistant coach to hire, to direct the team's defense. Housley previously added former St. Louis Blues coach Davis Payne to his staff and retained goaltender coach Andrew Allen.
--Botterill said defenseman Devante Stephens' shoulder injury suffered Monday will not require surgery but only a couple of weeks of rehab. He should be ready for training camp.