The Hurricanes traded Skinner to the Sabres on Thursday in exchange for Cliff Pu, a 2019 second-round pick, a 2020 third-round pick and a 2020 sixth-round pick. The Hurricanes drew plenty of interest for the 26-year-old winger, who enters 2018-19 in the final year of his six-year contract, but it was ultimately Buffalo who landed the prize. The Sabres add Skinner to a relatively young core group of forwards, perhaps positioning themselves to contend for a playoff spot for the first time since 2010-11. Skinner can generally be counted on to play most of the season, totaling at least 71 appearances -- excluding the lockout campaign in 2012-13 -- in six of his seven 82-game campaigns, but his minus-27 rating from last season isn't pretty. Some of Skinner's rating struggles can be attributed to playing for a middling Carolina club, so a change of scenery to a more productive team in Buffalo should fix that. Coming off a campaign in which he posted his fewest points (49) since 2014-15, he should find a spot among the Sabres' top two forward trios while he'll improve a Sabres power-play unit that converted on just 19.1 percent of its chances last season.
Skinner is drawing trade interest from the Kings, Penguins and Blues, Pierre LeBrun of TSN reports. Skinner has one year remaining on a six-year, $34.35 million deal. Perhaps best known for winning the Calder Trophy with the Hurricanes as an 18-year-old in the 2010-11 campaign, Skinner has compiled 204 goals and 175 assists over 579 career contests. He'll presumably attract any team that needs a significant boost on the man advantage, but at least in the case of the Kings, they're reportedly viewing Skinner as a secondary option to prized free-agent Ilya Kovalchuk, who averaged a point-per-game in the NHL between the Thrashers and Devils from 2001-13.
Skinner's name is being floated around in trade talks this offseason according to general manager Don Waddell. While Skinner had a somewhat disappointing 2017-18 campaign, scoring 24 goals and 49 points, he should still bring back some decent value to Carolina should he be moved. The forward turned just 26 years old Wednesday and has scored at least 20 goals in six of his eight NHL seasons thus far. Skinner showed the type of player he could be in 2016, netting 37 goals and 63 points, both career highs. Should the Hurricanes choose to really shake up the roster, Skinner will be one of the biggest names the team could ship off.
Skinner finished the 2017-18 season with 49 points, his lowest total in three seasons, along with a career-worst minus-27 rating. It was a disappointing campaign for the 25-year-old Skinner after he posted a career-high 63 points the previous season. He still has a year left on his six-year, $34 million contract extension, but with new owner Tom Dundon expected to make sweeping changes this offseason, there is no guarantee Skinner will be back in a Canes uniform next season. From a fantasy perspective, you never know what you're going to get out of Skinner in any given year, which makes him a high-risk selection on draft day. Buyer beware.
Skinner scored the Hurricanes' only goal Saturday in a 2-1 loss to the Rangers. He has seven points, including three goals, in his last six games. It was Skinner's 24th goal of the season. He's a long way from last year's 37 snipes, but this is his sixth straight 20-goal season. Plan on a mid-50s production next season.
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Last 7 Games
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