Another move to like by the Sabres

The Sabres acquired Jeff Skinner from the Hurricanes on Thursday night

Bulldog
August 02, 2018 - 10:09 pm

Photo: Timothy T. Ludwig - USA TODAY Sports

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I can’t remember now when we first started talking about the Buffalo Sabres acquiring Jeff Skinner. Maybe it was April. Could’ve been January. Honestly, with the way the Sabres season was going from pretty much Halloween on, it wouldn’t surprise me. What I know for sure is that we were talking about it for a good long while.

Then the NHL Draft came and went followed by July 1st and a big deal involving Ryan O’Reilly, and the idea kind of petered out for me. Like so many hockey off seasons, we saw the Sabres make some moves, (Conor Sheary anyone?) yet you still could’ve been left wanting more.

This may have been most evidenced when after the O’Reilly trade, you may have tried to put forward lines together and placed Tage Thompson in a prominent spot on a top line. Nothing tells you a team needs an upgrade on the wings like penciling in a guy with 40 NHL games under his belt into your lineup as an upgrade on your top-two lines.

Well never mind all of that.

Skinner is now on the Sabres, which means even if you and I stopped thinking about it, Jason Botterill never did. Not only did the Sabres general manager keep working on it, he managed to swing the deal without giving up anyone off his NHL roster. Sure, maybe it would’ve been nice to move a dead weight contract, but that likely costs you a better prospect than Cliff Pu.

Is it perfect? No, but as I see it, there’s more to like than not.

Skinner is 26-years-old, and has scored 30 goals three times and has totaled 204 goals in eight NHL seasons. He’s a very good skater, is a plus-possession player, and waived his no trade clause to come to Buffalo.

Downside would be that he’s probably about to get paid by the Sabres and that will likely be hefty. Think in the $7 million per-year range. Skinner is in the final year of his existing contract and would be set to become an unrestricted free agent in July. Considering what the Sabres have given up, they don’t have to do an extension with Skinner, but I’d bet that getting him to agree to come means there’s a new contract coming at some point, maybe before this season even begins. While still young now, lots of term on a contract is always risky, especially with a player who has a concussion history like Skinner. That said, he is five years removed from missing nearly half a season due to head injuries.

Add all of that up, and it’s a move I’d want my team to make all day long.

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