3 reasons why trading Jeff Skinner would make sense for the Sabres

Jeff Skinner is one of the most notable forwards on the Sabres, but trading him in the offseason wouldn’t be such a bad idea.
Mar 30, 2024; Buffalo, New York, USA;  Buffalo Sabres left wing Jeff Skinner (53) plays the puck
Mar 30, 2024; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres left wing Jeff Skinner (53) plays the puck / Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
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On the surface, a Jeff Skinner trade would be out of the question for many Sabres fans, and they have an excellent point. Since Skinner signed a “bad” contract before the 2019-20 season, his play has been up and down, but it’s mostly been up starting in 2021-22. 

If you’re new to the Blue and Gold, the story goes like this: Skinner signed an eight-year agreement with an AAV of $9 million a year following a 40-goal, 63-point season. Then he compiled 37 points and 21 goals over his next 112 games, which is why his contract was such a bad deal at the time. 

Since then, however, Skinner put up 191 points and 92 goals over his next 233 games, and he hit a career-best in 2022-23 with 82 points. So why would it make so much sense to trade a player whose productivity has at least been solid?

It makes sense for the Sabres to trade Jeff Skinner in 2024

For starters, I’ll stress that just because there are a few reasons such a trade makes sense, it doesn’t mean I would endorse it. You can make a compelling argument, and one with points I would agree with, on why the trade makes zero sense. But I’m also a big believer in looking at multiple sides of the equation, so this is what today’s exercise is all about. 

I also want to point out that Skinner has a no-movement clause, meaning he must agree to any type of trade should it take place. If you want to see Skinner stick around, that should be reassurance, but if he feels the situation would be better elsewhere, he could be cool with general manager Kevyn Adams moving him elsewhere. 

I’ll also point out that this piece is fully speculative. But for a player who wasn’t as consistent last season and one who also takes up some serious space in the Sabres salary cap, it’s worth exploring the idea.