NHL Rumors: The Buffalo Sabres, Jeff Skinner and a San Jose Sharks Example
NHL Rumors: Is Jeff Skinner's contract with the Buffalo Sabres tradeable? Could a team like the San Jose Sharks be interested?
© Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

WGR 550: Elliotte Friedman was on ‘The Instigators’ and was asked if the Buffalo Sabres COVID shutdown was holding up any Sabres trades. They then get into Jeff Skinner and his contract and if he’s tradeable.

** NHLRumors.com transcription

“I do think there was one trade that was held up by, that was at least damaged by the COVID stoppage, but that one did not involve Buffalo. I think that was another situation potentially.

I’ve seen and heard some of the trade proposals that you guys have talked about. I know you guys are talking a lot about Jeff Skinner. I think it’s going to be incredibly, incredibly difficult to get someone to take that contract right now. I never like to say impossible because there have been times over years that I think a contract is untradeable and it gets traded.

I just think right now with the pandemic and the pandemic economics, I think it makes it extremely, nobody wants to take on money. Nobody Andrew wants to take on money.”

When asked if there’s a team that already has a contract on it that doesn’t make sense at all for their hockey team. Friedman responds:

“How many years are left on Skinner’s deal? Six after this one right? And let me just check while I’m here, let me just check the structure, just because you’ve got to be talking about. So let’s just say you have a deal you don’t like. Are you going to trade for Jeff Skinner’s contract if your contract has less term or less cash on it?

If you look at Skinner’s deal, and first off he has a no-move clause, he has to agree to it.”

Friedman asked if Skinner would turn it down?

“Well, it depends.”

Back to looking at the structure of Skinner’s deal.

“He’s got $10 million in the next four years including one big bonus and then $12 million the last two years. So you’re talking $52 million for six years.

Let’s just say you want to make a trade. Is there a team that is going to take that over a contract they already have? So the chances are, and I’m only saying this off the top of my head, if you’re trading for that deal, chances are the Sabres are gonna have to trade a deal that’s more money than that one. What do you think the changes are the Sabres are gonna want to do that?

Did someone talk about Vlasic the other day? So Vlasic’s deal is less than Skinner’s. If you’re the Sabres of course you’re going to do that, but would the Sharks do it?”

Host starts hypothetically talking about the Sabres trying to move Skinner to a better situation. Obviously better financially for the Sabres. The Sharks have Erik Karlsson making $11 million and Brent Burns is at $8 million. Vlasic comes in at $7 million with five years left on his deal after this season. If talking Vlasic, the Sharks are going to want a first-round pick, a young high-end prospect or roster player.

Friedman: “I’m not doing it if I’m Buffalo.”

Craig Rivet asks why?

“Because Craig I think at that point in time you’re digging, it’s like the cycle of badness. At some point in time, you have to find your way out of that okay. I’m not knocking Sabres fans, Buffalo and the NHL is blessed with the way people in Buffalo love hockey. But it’s been 10 years of this right? One playoff berth in 10 years. At some point in time, you have to find ways to pull yourself out of it. Trading first-rounds and high prospects? It doesn’t make sense.

Craig, this is a young persons, a young man’s league now. You cannot give up lottery picks. I wouldn’t do it.”

Host brings up that Vlasic as an example would be useful in Buffalo, and that San Jose lacks scoring, offensive talent. Skinner would change of scenery and the money works for both teams. Skinner makes few million more, but would make up the difference by including a first-round pick. He adds they have the prospect depth in their system to overcome it.


“I’m still not doing it. I understand your point of view. If I was in charge I wouldn’t do it. There’s a couple things to unpack here.

No. 1 – Buffalo’s first-rounder if this goes the way it’s going this year is going to be a really high pick. I’m not trading that pick to move Jeff Skinner’s deal. I understand why an owner might think that is a good idea but if I was the general manager or if I was anybody who had influence with the owner, I would throw myself in front of a train to prevent that from happening.

And the other thing I would just say is, if you’re San Jose’s owner, think about it from an owners point of view, who would you rather right checks for? Marc-Edouard Vlasic with his contract remaining or Jeff Skinner with his contract remaining? And keep in mind we’re in a pandemic.”

Host says that the Sharks are in a rebuild so taking on extra salary may be worth the extra asset for the Sharks.