In a rare August trade, the Buffalo Sabres acquired winger Jeff Skinner from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for Cliff Pu, a 2019 second-round pick, a 2020 third-round pick and a 2020 sixth-round pick.
OFFICIAL TRADE: We've acquired Jeff Skinner from Carolina for forward 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. pic.twitter.com/cFZswscWLS
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) August 2, 2018
Skinner is a former first-round pick (No.7 in 2010) and a three-time 30-goal scorer during his eight-year tenure in Carolina. The 26-year-old has one-year left on his contract, that carries a $5.725M cap-hit and a no-move clause.
Skinner had concussion issues early in his career, but has thankfully put those behind him in recent years. Skinner has played in at least 71 games in each of the last five seasons and is tied for 16th in the NHL in goals (140) during that stretch.
Left wing was a weakness of the Sabres heading into the offseason, but they have done a nice job addressing that position during the past few months. In addition to adding Skinner, the Sabres acquired Conor Sheary from the Pittsburgh Penguins in late June. With those two trades, the Sabres added 42 goals and 37 assists (79 points) from last year to their top-6 without giving up a roster player.
The long-time Hurricane is at his best when he is playing with a good passing centre and can easily be a 30-goal scorer for the Sabres in 2019. Skinner is projected to play on a line with Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart, both great passers, so goals should come easy for Skinner.
Waddell on Skinner moving closer to home (Toronto): "Buffalo was always a team high on his list."
— John Matisz (@MatiszJohn) August 2, 2018
While no roster player was given up in this deal, Pu was one of the Sabres’ top prospects. The 20-year-old was picked in the third-round (No. 69) in 2016 and just finished his fourth-year in the the Ontario Hockey League. Pu split the season between the London Knights and the Kingston Frontenacs and compiled 29 goals and 55 assists (84 points) across 65 games. Pu likely won’t challenge for a roster spot with the Hurricanes this summer, but should spend the year in the AHL and could earn a call-up later in the year.