Going into the upcoming season, there was already a lot to look forward to when it came to the Buffalo Sabres.
The team was going to have a healthy Jack Eichel, a potential franchise changing defenseman in first overall pick Rasmus Dahlin, and a new, reliable goaltender Carter Hutton. Pretty solid, right?
Things just got A LOT better for the franchise as they just acquired forward Jeff Skinner from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for Cliff Pu, a 2019 second rounder, as well as a third and sixth rounder in 2020. Someone call the cops, because the Sabres just committed a robbery.
With the likes of Eichel, Casey Mittelstadt, Sam Reinhart, Kyle Okposo, Patrik Berguland, and Vladimir Sobtka, this Sabres’ offense was actually already solid. Getting Skinner, however, adds a whole other element up front. For starters, Skinner is an unbelievable skater. He brings speed, great stops and starts, and an ability to glide around opposing skaters that makes him very tough to catch and stop.
Secondly, he brings a lot of offense to this hockey club. He had 49 points last season (24 goals and 25 assists), but is a player that is know to score nearly 50 points a season.
Skinner is also someone that is still very young. He came into the league in 2010-11, which makes him look like someone who has been around for a good chunk of time. With that said, he is not even in his prime yet at just 26 years of age. He’s got a lot of miles left in those talented legs of his, so the Sabres are getting someone who has a lot of damage left to do against opposing clubs.
It is hard to say what this deal does for the Hurricanes. Pu, 20, is a center who was the 69th overall pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft and is someone who had a solid junior career in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). He had 210 points in 232 games with the Oshawa Generals, London Knights, and Kingston Frontenacs. At 6’3 192 pounds, he has a chance to turn into a big and solid forward for the Hurricanes if developed the right way.
The Canes also got some picks, so it is clear that they are building a team for the future. What future that is, no one knows.
Up front, it appears that the team wants to build around the likes of their young guys in Andrei Svechnikov, Sebastian Aho, and Teuvo Teravainen. These three will have plenty of opportunities to hopefully provide this franchise with a lot of offense moving forward.
With that said, no matter how you look at this trade, it is clear that the Sabres are the winners and that this move gives them a legitimate shot to have a say in the ever-competitive Atlantic Division this upcoming season.