Buffalo Sabres Jeff Skinner To Be Exposed at Expansion Draft

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The disastrous Jeff Skinner era with the Buffalo Sabres looks like it could be coming to an end. On July 14th, 2021 the Sabres and Skinner agreed to drop his no-movement clause. In a strange turn of events, the Sabres look like they could potentially get out from one of the worst contracts in the NHL. The Seattle Kraken could potentially get the Sabres out of a horrible contract and give the former all-star a second chance.

Jeff Skinner Carolina Hurricanes Career Overview

Jeff Skinner actually was a very good NHL player that had many productive seasons with two different teams. He started his NHL career when he was drafted seventh overall by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2010. With the Hurricanes, he proved to be a successful pick. The former figure skater exploded in his rookie season to score an astounding 31 goals and 32 assists for 63 points as an 18-year-old rookie. He was named to the NHL’s all-rookie team and was awarded the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s best rookie. 

Struggling with injury over the next couple of seasons he posted point totals of 44 points in 64 games during his second season and  24 points in 42 games in his third campaign. He finally was able to regain that scoring touch he possessed during his season as he scored 33 goals and 21 assists in 71 games. In his fifth season, he registered another underwhelming season by his standards as he only managed to score 18 goals and 13 assists for 31 points. 

The final three seasons with the Hurricanes were the best stretch of seasons that Skinner has managed to play so far in his career. As a 23-year-old he scored 28 goals and added 23 assists. Building off the strong campaign he followed that up by setting his season-high in goals and tying his career-high point total that he set during his rookie season. Scoring 37 goals and getting 26 assists got Skinner named to the NHL All-Star team and nominated for the Lady Byng. In his final season as a Hurricane, he played in all 82 regular-season games and 24 goals to go along with his 25 assists.

What Has Happened to Jeff Skinner With the Sabres?

Following a midsummer blockbuster trade, Jeff Skinner had to pack up all his belongings to fly up to Buffalo, New York to play alongside Jack Eichel. His first season alongside the former Boston University Terriers star was amazing. Jeff Skinner set a career-high in goals and tied his career-high in points. Scoring 40 goals and 23 assists got him voted into his NHL all-star game and earned him a massive contract.

On June 7th, 2019 Skinner and the Sabres agreed to a massive seven-year contract worth $72 million. To go along with his $9 million salary he also had a no-movement clause negotiated into his contract. 

Two years after signing the contract the regret is obvious. Since signing the contract Skinner has managed to score a measly 21 goals and 16 assists in 112 games across two seasons. Skinner has served as a healthy scratch for the Sabres on numerous occasions and he has been reelected to the fourth line for long stretches of the season. With a salary cap hit of $9 million, Jeff Skinner should be scoring at a level on par with his production in his first season as a Sabre.

Should the Seattle Kraken Risk Selecting Jeff Skinner?

The benefits and negatives of potentially selecting the former all-star are obvious. Skinner’s contract and lack of production are the only negatives of him. The upside would be that Skinner could potentially rebound and have a fantastic few seasons with the Kraken. With an abundance of cap space, the Kraken will be able to take some flyers on players such as Skinner. The Kraken should draft Jeff Skinner in the expansion draft as they will need a star or face of the franchise to market in the inaugural season and the first couple of seasons.

A rejuvenated Skinner could be the right person for the task. A change of scenery and the opportunity to get back to playing first-line minutes could the exact thing to jumpstart him to get back to the productive seasons he had in Carolina.

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Clancy Golden is one of the biggest hockey fans in the world. He loves writing and watching the beautiful sport of hockey.