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Botterill talks contracts; Housley updates on coaching staff

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Botterill Post Dev Camp Day 4

BOTTERILL: Post Dev Camp Day 4

Jason Botterill after the 3-on-3 tournament on day 4 of development camp

  • 06:17 •

Jason Botterill is always looking to strengthen the Buffalo Sabres' roster. It's simply a matter of when.

Speaking at the conclusion of development camp on Saturday, Botterill said that he's still in contact with other general managers, but added that talks around the League are quiet, which he expects to be the case until the fall. 

"I think we're still looking at UFAs," Botterill said. "It's sort of the discussion of, is there still someone out there that you want to add right now or is it better to keep a spot open to see something materialize from a trade standpoint closer to the start of the season?"

For now, then, Botterill's priority will be signing Buffalo's own restricted free agents. Johan Larsson was the first player to come to an agreement when he signed a two-year contract on Saturday. Evan Rodrigues, Zemgus Girgensons, Robin Lehner and Nathan Beaulieu remain unsigned.

Lehner and Beaulieu have arbitration hearings set for July 27 and Aug. 4, respectively. Botterill remained optimistic that a deal will get done with Lehner prior to that date (Lehner is represented by Craig Oster, who also represents Larsson). 

The other looming contract on the agenda is a potential extension for Jack Eichel, who has one more year before he hits restricted free agency. Botterill was optimistic on that front as well.

"Our conversations with Jack and the group have gone extremely well," he said. "We'll continue those throughout the summer here and see if we can find a common ground. From our standpoint, we certainly want to get something done and from everything we've heard from Jack and his agents, they want to get something done too."

When asked about an extension for Sam Reinhart, Botterills said he doesn't foresee an agreement being reached this summer. Reinhart, too, has one year remaining on his rookie contract and will hit restricted free agency next July. 

While Botterill is busy with contracts, Phil Housley, is still in the process of building out his staff. He began with the addition of Davis Payne as associate coach and by officially announcing Andrew Allen's return as goalie coach last Wednesday. 

Payne spent the past five seasons as an assistant coach in Los Angeles, prior to which he served as head coach for two-plus seasons in St. Louis.

"I think it helps," Housley said of Payne's NHL experience. "Davis, his resume speaks for itself … I think [he is a] presence in the locker room and if you know him he's a great human, he's got a great family and he brings a lot to the table which I really enjoy."

Video: HOUSLEY: Dev Camp Wrap Up

Housley also had his first opportunity to comment on the acquisition of defenseman Marco Scandella, who he saw several times per season as an opponent during his time in Nashville.

"He's a fierce competitor," he said. "He was playing behind some guys [in Minnesota]. He wanted more minutes, he wanted an opportunity and lucky for us we got him. The way he can skate, he's mobile, that's really a big part of our team. We need some mobility back there. He brings that."

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