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Jeff Skinner Was A Healthy Scratch Last Night

from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,

That means veteran Jeff Skinner was a healthy scratch for the game against the New York Islanders in Nassau Coliseum. Skinner has no goals and one point in 14 games this season and just 18 goals in his last 98 games dating to February 2019.

It has been a precipitous dropoff for Skinner, a four-time 30-goal scorer who posted a career-high 40 goals for the Sabres in 2018-19. Skinner signed an eight-year, $72 million contract with Buffalo after that season. He has struggled to deliver since, while not playing on a line with Jack Eichel, as he did most of that season.

Skinner's spot with Riley Sheahan and Curtis Lazar was filled by Casey Mittelstadt on Monday.

"We don't measure players only on statistics. It's part of the mix. It just is a bit of a gut feel," coach Ralph Krueger said before the game. "The best lineup for tonight was with Casey Mittelstadt in that spot. It's less against Jeff than it is for what we think this group needs today and what we need in a game for our team today."


Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink



Holy @#$%^&.  Imagine having a guy signed for 6 more years at $9m per, and he has one point the whole season.  Epic failure.

Posted by MikeO on 02/23/21 at 09:26 AM ET

Primis's avatar

Holy @#$%^&.  Imagine having a guy signed for 6 more years at $9m per, and he has one point the whole season.  Epic failure.

Posted by MikeO on 02/23/21 at 09:26 AM ET

He has struggled to deliver since, while not playing on a line with Jack Eichel, as he did most of that season.

Skinner’s spot with Riley Sheahan and Curtis Lazar…

It’s almost like if you put goalscorers on lines with underperforming players, the goalscorer under-performs…

Imagine a world where you’d rather trot Lazar and Sheahan out onto the ice instead of Skinner. Heck, are you telling me Skinner isn’t better on the 3rd line with Okposo and Eakin than Tobias Reider?  Imagine how dense you are to put a 30-goal guy on the 4th line with guys that are nearly AHLers and then question why the goalscorer is not scoring.

This sure reeks to me of them setting him up to fail.

Posted by Primis on 02/23/21 at 11:34 AM ET


Skinner was getting 10-13 mins for a while.

Maybe that included sheltered offensive starts and
matchups and PP mins and they were trying to get him

He was playing 16-19 mins prior and not producing.

Can’t play every offensive-minded player with Eichel.
Especially when Skinner had lots of opportunities there and
was no longer producing.

That contract…he’d had the one really big year and it’s like
Botterill (maybe under pressure from ownership??) felt like
the team had to be good now and he couldn’t afford to have that
asset he’d acquired walk away for nothing. The funny thing is,
prior to that awful contract consensus was Carolina hadn’t gotten much
in return for moving him to Buffalo. Botterill seemed to forget that Skinner had been a very up and down player and was almost guaranteed to regress a lot and that a player who’s a good deal at, say 6 million for four years, can be at horrible deal at 9 million and seven years. Skinner still would have been a bad signing at the latter but maybe such a deal would have put less pressure on him. In any case it would be less brutal to buy out.

I wonder if Pegula’s put a lot of pressure on Botterill to re-sign Skinner or lots of implicit pressure by demanding they be good now - and then fired him in significant part for the deal backfiring so much. If an agent is demanding 9 million or more on a long term deal for a streaky winger like Skinner who doesn’t play a complete game and has never even had two consecutive big seasons, you walk away. Let someone else make that mistake. But sometimes when ownership is leaning over your shoulder you’re probably thinking: do I have to do this to keep my job?

Posted by lefty.30 on 02/23/21 at 02:07 PM ET


Also noticed Krueger played Eichel and Reinhart really low minutes in a recent
game. It was just one game, but it shows he’s trying to push as many buttons as he
can and maybe is sort of running out of buttons to push.

NHL jobs are few enough that someone will always take them but
that’s gotta be an unenviable situation to have to coach and manage.
Kevyn Adams probably isn’t going anywhere soon as he’s the Pegulas guy.

But wonder if Krueger is running out of time there or patience himself.
Something is wrong other than the coach and the talent isn’t so bad on paper.

Maybe what they need is a second coming of Hasek.
Or maybe even that isn’t enough and they have a mix of players who don’t mesh well and have absorbed losing and frustration to the point the atmosphere is poisoned similar to Edmonton a few years ago.

Posted by lefty.30 on 02/23/21 at 02:16 PM ET

Royal Grand Exalted PooBah's avatar

So just for grins… If Steve could trade for skinner and pick up Buffalo’s first rounder (preferably next years) and have them keep part of the salary and maybe move Neilsen in the bargain would you do it?  What would it take?

Posted by Royal Grand Exalted PooBah from the basement of the Alamo on 02/23/21 at 06:53 PM ET


I doubt they’d want to eat half of that deal per six more seasons.
And even if they did that and took Nielsen, it would mean five more
years of a boat anchor contract for us at the same time we’d surely be having to
re-sign core players and our best young players would be coming out of their
ELC and we might be trying to sign a UFA or two to put us over the top.

Short of a strong chance of drafting a truly generational talent, another lottery pick
plus sweeteners wouldn’t be worth it. It would take multiple number one picks.
Which would deprive them of the assets to improve now or to rebuild, again.
They’d still be paying a portion of Skinners deal for a long time and would be
stuck in limbo without a strong enough roster. If they traded Eichel and others to
jumpstart a rebuild, they’d then still be out their own crucial current high picks to collect enough young talent at once.

They may have to just live with this for a few years. Others might be more creative but it’s hard to think of a way they could make it worthwhile for another team without badly hobbling themselves and still paying him a portion of his salary for nothing.
That’s what happens when a team signs a very inconsistent one-dimensional player at the least important position in hockey and who is nearing thirty to a maximum length deal at an insane overpay. It makes the Seabrook contract look delightful.
It makes Abby’s deal look like a shrewd bargain. If the Pegulas pushed Botterill to do that they should fire themselves as owners.

Posted by lefty.30 on 02/23/21 at 07:45 PM ET

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