Reports of a major move coming from Sabres this week
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Reports of a major move coming from Sabres this week

As soon as the Stanley Cup Final is over!

Trevor Connors

According to a report from NHL insiders Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman, the Buffalo Sabres could be making a big move in the next week.

With the NHL's contract buy-out period opening 48 hours after the end of the Stanley Cup Final, all eyes are on the Sabres to see what they do with veteran forward Jeff Skinner. Both Friedman and Marek report that the Sabres are considering buying out the remaining three years of Skinner's contract, in which he earns a $9 million annually salary.

From Friedman on today's Jeff Marek Show:

"I do think it's possible. Obviously nobody here is talking... but there have been some rumblings around the league that that's a possibility. Now it's a six year buyout, Skinner has three years remaining on his deal. I think he has $22 million in salary left on his deal, so it would be 2/3rds the salary over six years. It's going to be very manageable, but the one thing that stands out is that next year it would give them a $7.5 million cap relief and next year is a big year for the Sabres. Like I said, the Sabres aren't talking... but the word is definitely out there that a Skinner buy-out is a possibility."

- Elliotte Friedman

Skinner, like many Sabres' players this past season, had a dreadful campaign in 2023-24 compared to 2022-23. The veteran forward managed 24 goals and 46 points in 74 games... which isn't terrible, but he put up a career high 35 goals and 82 points in 79 games just a season prior. It's clear that Skinner benefitted greatly from linemate Tage Thompson's breakout season in 2022-23, but with Thompson taking a step back this past season Skinner's production tanked. 

Should the Sabres elect to buy-out Skinner's contract he would become an unrestricted free agent eligible to sign with any team on July 1st. And if you don't think this guy would welcome a move to a Stanley Cup contender... think again! Skinner has played 13 seasons in the NHL split between the Sabres and the Carolina Hurricanes and has yet to suit up for a single Stanley Cup Playoff game. I would imagine that if he does hit free agency then he'll be speed-dialing any team with a shot at the Cup.

Source: Elliotte Friedman