Fantasy Impact: Jeff Skinner is Buffalo Bound

Cam Robinson



The Buffalo Sabres traded Cliff Pu, a second-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, a third-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft and a sixth-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for Jeff Skinner. 


The Sabres get: A proven top-six forward in the midst of his prime age years. Skinner has battled injuries and inconsistencies throughout his eight-year career but has flashed elite offensive abilities on more than one occasion. The three-time 30-plus goal scorer is coming off a down season that saw his goal total drop from 37 to 24 but that can be attributed to his secondary deployment, a significant dip in his personal shooting percentage and even-strength conversion rate. His 89 goals over the past three campaigns are 12th most in the NHL. The 26-year-old immediately steps in as the Sabres' top option on the left-wing and should see plenty of time next to Jack Eichel in all situations. Skinner is entering the final year of his contract and since he waived his No Movement Clause to head to Buffalo, you'd expect the Sabres and his representation to have already discussed an extension. 


The Hurricanes get: Not a whole lot. Carolina failed to accrue a legitimate piece in return for their scoring winger. Cliff Pu, a third-round selection from 2016, has had a tremendous OHL career. He's a speed-driven forward who can play in all situations, has nice vision and a pro-style game. He projects as a middle six option down the line. The draft selections will be lottery tickets that will take years to see if they pan out. Hurricanes' fans are surely disappointed with the return. 



Fantasy Players Impacted: In Carolina, Skinner had been reduced to a second line and second power-play unit role for most of 2017-18. His departure will impact the secondary scoring opportunities for rookies, Martin Necas and Andrei Svechnikov. Skinner was the likely linemate for those two heading into the season and would've provided veteran leadership. Victor Rask was his most common linemate who still remains in Carolina and this deal will hurt his stock slightly as well. 

The Sabres will see a multitude of shifts with the incoming player. Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart should have a legitimate option to flank them on the top line. That trio should provide plenty of offense. Recently acquired Conor Sheary loses some lustre as he slides down to a more secondary role, but will now have the opportunity to play with super-rookie, Casey Mittelstadt and Kyle Okposo. The added depth will allow the team to roll out a strong top six core. Rasmus Dahlin and or Rasmus Ristolainen will have another weapon to work with on the top power-play unit as well. Evan Rodrigues appeared to have a shot at a full-time top-six job but he's now pushed into the bottom six on the left side along with Vladimir Sobotka.