GM Jason Botterill of the Buffalo Sabres flexes his muscles again as he goes out and acquires Jeff Skinner from the Carolina Hurricanes for a prospect and some picks.
Skinner was talked about numerous times in connection with Buffalo but became a forgotten asset after Buffalo moved Ryan O'Reilly and Carolina made their blockbuster trade on day two of the NHL draft. According to Botterill, these trade talks have been going on for a long while and he was happy to finally get this deal done.
After trading away O'Reilly and getting Conor Sheary, Buffalo was still left with a problem at winger. This doesn't completely solve their problem, but it certainly helps.
Skinner is on the last year of his deal and he is set to become an unrestricted free agent. This may frighten some fans thinking Skinner is just going to leave, but I don't think that's the case. He grew up in Toronto (which is about 90 minutes away from Buffalo,) waived his no-trade clause to come to Buffalo, said he wanted to be closer to home, and Buffalo was high on Skinner's list of places he wanted to go.
The other good thing about the 26-year-old winger is that he averages about 25-30 goals a season, scored 30 or more goals three times in his career, is a very good skater, a plus-possession player, and even though he struggled with injuries early in his career, he has played 320 out of 328 games in the past four seasons.
This was a good get for GMJB and the Sabres organization, and it definitely helps the Sabres trend upwards and makes the possibility of getting back to playoffs feel closer than it ever has before.
Carolina continues their fire sale en route to completely overhauling their squad in the chance that they can bring the franchise into prominence. All Carolina traded was Skinner, but their return was lackluster, in my opinion, for a scoring winger who is in his prime.
GMJB gave up Cliff Pu, a second-round pick in 2019, and a third and sixth in 2020. Pu has been lighting it up in the OHL, but hasn't been signed to a contract or really done anything for Buffalo. GMJB also didn't have to give up bad picks either.
This was such a good deal for Buffalo that they would've been crazy not to take it. Thinking about Jack Eichel finally having a true scoring winger to help him out should really excite Sabre fans right now.
What does Skinner bring to Buffalo?
This move should really excite Sabre fans a lot. Skinner brings so much to this team that he can really be one of the stepping stones in turning this thing around. Buffalo has been bad for so long, but their core should truly excite this city.
In 82 games last season, Skinner had 49 (24 G, 25 A) points and has accumulated 379 points in 579 games. He is a quick, mobile winger who can score with ease. He is just in the prime of career and should bring his explosiveness to the roster to really open things up.
Skinner is a solid, dependable winger that should pair with Eichel on the left side. This pairing finally allows some of the pressure to be taken off of Eichel and gives him someone he can truly skate with and set up.
Look for a lot of Eichel to Skinner and vice-versa in the upcoming season.
Where does this leave Buffalo?
This trade is certainly another step for them to trend in the right direction. GMJB is truly showing the fans that he wants to make the Buffalo Sabres a truly better organization after basically revamping the roster to try it to mold to fit today's NHL.
GMJB promised changes and he brought them. Robin Lehner, Chad Johson, O'Reilly, Josh Gorges, Victor Antipin, Evander Kane, Jacob Josefson, Benoit Pouliot, and Justin Falk are all gone. He said he wanted to bring about a culture change and he has. Getting players like Sheary and Skinner and Rasmus Dahlin truly bring about a change.
This leaves Buffalo in a very good spot, they gave up virtually nothing to get a 25 goals-per-year scorer and it finally gives Eichel a true winger. Even though the talks took a very long time to complete, GMJB got it done.
“We talked a lot of different scenarios over the last couple of months, just where his team was at and different things we did with our trades and we just kept the dialog going and today we’re extremely excited to bring Jeff on board.” GM Jason Botterill said about the Jeff Skinner trade, “I respect his work ethic a lot off the ice, his professionalism and how he goes about handling himself. We’ve talked a lot about our group being more competitive and playing with more pace and that’s right up Jeff’s game.”
Skinner is just another piece in the puzzle in trying to bring a Stanley Cup to Buffalo, or at a bare minimum make the playoffs, and bring about a new era in Buffalo Sabres hockey. Fans should be excited about the upcoming season because, for the first time in a while, the Sabres might actually be a fun team to watch.
What did you think about the Skinner trade? Do you think Buffalo makes the playoffs? Tell me in the comments below!