For as much success as Jeff Skinner is having this season, it wasn’t like teams were beating down the door trying to acquire him via trade over the summer.
Pierre LeBrun had a Wednesday radio hit on Vancouver’s TSN 1040.
During a longer discussion on the terrific run both Skinner and the Sabres have been on, the point was made to LeBrun that the Sabres “basically got him for a steal - picks and a prospect.”
“In Carolina’s defense, there just wasn’t a great market for Jeff Skinner,” recalled LeBrun. “They tried all summer to trade him. Tried to trade him at the draft. There weren’t that many teams interested in him.
“And I don’t know if there were concerns about his health, or what, but it wasn’t a big market. It’s not like the Hurricanes didn’t know how to trade Jeff Skinner. They talked to every team available and couldn’t get going. L.A. had some interest at one point, but did Kovalchuk instead. So it wasn’t a big market.
“I also think, just so people know - because of course now the Hurricanes are 27th in the league in scoring, ‘Well, why did they trade Jeff Skinner.’ I sense, even though no one has confirmed this, I sense that both between the Hurricanes and Skinner it was kind of a mutual desire to sort of exit from each other.
“Now, he’d been there a long time. Kind of reminds me a bit of Pacioretty leaving Montreal. I think that after awhile it just became one of those situations where maybe a fresh start was better for Jeff Skinner and I think the team agreed. So that’s something to keep in mind.”
Skinner did have, and still does have, a no-trade clause in his contract and was in the driver’s seat on that part of the trade front.
The Sabres acquired him in August for a 2019 second-round pick, 2020 third and sixth-round picks, and Cliff Pu.
Skinner can become an unrestricted free agent this summer, and has 19 goals in 25 games.
LeBrun also mentioned Ilya Kovalchuk, who was signed by the Kings to a three-year, $18.75 million contract as a UFA July 1.
Contract-related info via CapFriendly