Thoughts on the Jeff Skinner Trade

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Your voice of reason is back, and it’s time for some controversy. Jeff Skinner has been a staple in the Hurricanes’ lineup for eight years now, but his time with the organization has come to an end.

The Canes announced on Thursday afternoon that Skinner had been shipped to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for prospect forward Cliff Pu, a 2019 2nd round pick, a 2020 3rd round pick, and a 2020 6th round pick

I don’t think anybody is really surprised at the fact that Skinner was traded. The team has known since the end of season exit interviews that they would not be pursuing a contract extension with the three time 30 goal scorer. I believe that at these exit interviews, Skinner asked to be traded.

Trade rumors had followed Skinner throughout the offseason. It’s important to remember that Skinner had a NMC, and he reportedly vetoed at least one trade at the NHL Draft. All along, Skinner controlled his own destiny. Back in June, I wrote about the potential trade of Skinner (and Lindholm) here. In that article, I said that if it was possible to extend Skinner, the team should do it. But, it seems pretty obvious that it was never really possible.

It really sucks to see Skinner go, both from a hockey standpoint and from a personal standpoint. On the hockey side, it leaves a really nasty feeling in me. The team was looking to be significantly improved from last season, and while the team still looks better than they were, they are significantly worse than they were at this time yesterday.

In: Svechnikov, Necas, Zykov, Ferland, Martinook, Maenalanen, Hamilton, de Haan, Mrazek

Out: Skinner, Lindholm, Ryan, Stempniak, Nordstrom, Hanifin, Dahlbeck, Ward

I think that Svechnikov himself will offset Skinner’s offensive game. I think that the rest of the change made the team a lot better, especially on defense. You could argue that the team’s depth on the left wing just took a major hit, and it did. I would dive into the breakdown of the current roster, but I’m working on a series of articles taking a position by position look at how the team will shape out. I had that done as one big article, but yesterday’s news threw a wrench in that.

I think that Skinner wants to be closer to his home in Toronto. If that’s the case, moving north makes more sense. Yeah, jokes could be made about him waiving his NMC to play for Buffalo, but if Skinner wants to be closer to home then I have to respect that.

The return on the trade is undoubtedly a little low, but it’s not as bad as it may look. Once again, it’s important to remember that Skinner has a NMC. He controlled where he went. It’s likely that the team had better offers from other teams, but Skinner wouldn’t waive his NMC. Cliff Pu has the potential to be a dangerous second or third liner in the NHL. The team also has a good track record with second round picks, and they have been good at drafting as of late anyways, so adding more picks is solid. I would’ve liked to pry away one of Buffalo’s three first round picks, but oh well. Getting a good prospect and a couple of decent draft picks for a disgruntled goal scorer with a history of concussions as a potential one year rental isn’t too bad. Yeah, I get wanting to get a NHL player as part of a Skinner trade, but what player from Buffalo would we realistically get for Skinner? I’m waiting….

It was also announced yesterday by Chip Alexander that Justin Faulk has a limited NMC, where he can choose 15 teams to be traded to. But, after comments by Waddell yesterday, we may not see any more changes to the roster until training camp. I still think that Faulk will be traded eventually. I don’t think that the team is ready to give up on Haydn Fleury, and if Faulk sticks around Fleury is seemingly the one to go. Unless the team does something different and ends up rolling out 7 defensemen every night, I can’t see any scenario in which Faulk remains on the roster. Hopefully, a potential Faulk trade nets a middle six NHL scorer.

There is also the argument that we should have waited until the trade deadline to make this deal and potentially get more in return. If Skinner didn’t want to be here, which is now apparent, you can’t have him here. For a young team that is looking to break the longest playoff drought in the NHL, you can’t have that type of distraction around. It’s important to build your team around players who give you the best chance to win, but you also can’t keep players around if they make it clear they want to be elsewhere. I also think there may be more to this story that we don’t know about, but I guess there always is. I truly believe that if the team felt like there was any chance of retaining Skinner, they would have.

It’s really going to suck seeing Skinner play for another team, especially Buffalo. When I first got into hockey, I had two players that I looked up to and idolized. Now, Eric Staal is a member of the Minnesota Wild, and Skinner is a Buffalo Sabre.

Skinner was never the problem on the ice. In the early years of his career, the team just wasn’t that good. He also dealt with some injury and concussion issues in his early career. Once Bill Peters came around, things really escalated. Skinner had troubles earning the trust of the former Canes head coach, and I believe that the differences between the two led to this situation we are in today.

I hate to see him go, but I am always going to be a fan of Jeff Skinner. His jersey is in my closet, and I know I’ll wear it again. His signature is on the back. The day he signed it was one of the coolest nights of my life. I’m going to miss watching the former figure skater ease his way around the opposition. The fake slapshots, toedrags, and snipes? Hell yeah I’ll miss those. I’ll miss everything about Jeff Skinner. But in the end, it was time for both sides to go their separate ways. And plus, at least it wasn’t Toronto or Pittsburgh?

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