Buffalo Sabres get stronger after trading for Jeff Skinner

The Buffalo Sabres made a splash on Thursday, announcing that they have traded for Carolina Hurricanes’ forward Jeff Skinner.

The former seventh overall pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, Jeff Skinner has been a consistent point-getter for the Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes’ decision to move Skinner was heavily weighted on him becoming an unrestricted free agent next summer.

The team decided to move him now while they can still get a nice penny for him.

“With Jeff becoming an unrestricted free agent next summer, this was the right time for us to move on, and to provide Jeff with a fresh start in Buffalo,” Hurricanes GM Don Waddell said. “We talked to every team in the league over the past four months, and ultimately the Sabres were the team that provided us with the best value in return, including three picks and a prospect we like in Cliff Pu.”

With the Sabres adding a veteran to their roster, they send away a 20-year old prospect in Cliff Pu, who was drafted by Buffalo in the third round of the 2016 NHL Draft. Although he hasn’t seen any NHL action, he has had impressive starts in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). Pu spent half of last season with the London Knights before being traded to the Kingston Frontenacs. In his four years in the OHL, he totaled 210 points (80 goals, 130 assists) with 29 goals and 55 assists coming last year.

The Sabres also send away three draft picks: second round pick in 2019, third round pick in 2020, sixth round pick in 2020. With the trade, Buffalo now has no picks in the second round of next year’s draft, but still have three first round picks next year.

The addition of Jeff Skinner will help give the Buffalo Sabres some consistent production from the left wing spot. He will join Conor Sheary as another left-wing addition this offseason for Buffalo. Skinner will likely be a good line fit with either Patrik Berglund-Vladimir Sobotka or Zemgus Girgensons-Jason Pominville.

In his eight years in the league, all of which were spent with the Carolina Hurricanes, Skinner totaled 204 goals, 175 assists and 379 points in 579 games. Of his 204 goals, 45 came on the power play and 28 were game-winners. He also recorded 53 power play assists.

When I say he will provide consistent production, I mean his numbers won’t drop your jaw, but players like him are what give a team valuable depth. He has only missed a total of 19 games in the past five seasons, two of those seasons playing in every game. He has eclipsed the 30-goal mark three times in his career (31 in 2010-11, 33 in 2013-14 and 37 in 2016-17) and the 20-goal mark three other times (20 in 2011-12, 28 in 2015-16 and 24 last season).

To add to his resume, he was named the Rookie of the Year in 2010-11, winning the Calder Trophy at season’s end.

The Buffalo Sabres weren’t the only team that showed interest, but they ultimately had the best to offer for the eight-year veteran. The Carolina Hurricanes reportedly reached out to every team in the league. For a team that was the only team in the NHL last season to not score more than 200 goals, this was a great pickup that won’t see any of their core or value players leave.

In addition, this trade helps in seeing Ryan O’Reilly traded by the Buffalo Sabres this season. With the addition of Jeff Skinner, the Sabres continue a big roster shake-up after adding Conor Sheary, Matt Hunwick, Tage Thompson, Vladimir Sobotka and Patrik Berglund through trade this offseason.

With Rasmus Dahlin looking to strengthen the Sabres’ defense and Casey Mittelstadt ready to prove what he can do in his first full season with the team, Buffalo no doubt got stronger this offseason and will be a much more balanced team this season.

What do you think of the Sabres’ trade with the Carolina Hurricanes? Leave your thoughts below!