Jeff Skinner signs with Edmonton Oilers after buyout

After being bought out by the Buffalo Sabres, a team that has missed the playoffs for 13 straight years, Jeff Skinner signed a one-year deal with the Edmonton Oilers, a team that was a win away from winning the Stanley Cup.

Skinner joins the Oilers after the Sabres bought out the final three years of an eight-year contract that saw him earn $9 million annually. With the Oilers, Skinner will make $3 million for his year of service.

Finding forwards who could contribute at a team-friendly price was the biggest challenge facing the Stanley Cup runners-up entering free agency.

One of the ways the Oilers created additional salary cap space was by buying out goaltender Jack Campbell for the final three years of his deal, which saw him earn $5 million annually.

Edmonton entered free agency Monday with seven unrestricted free agent forwards and the expectation that some of them might go elsewhere, such as Warren Foegele, who signed a three-year deal with the Los Angeles Kings.

The Oilers re-signed two of those seven UFAs — Connor Brown and Corey Perry — to one-year deals worth a combined $2.15 million. They then signed Kings forward Viktor Arvidsson to a two-year deal worth $4 million annually. They also signed defenseman Josh Brown for three years at $1 million annually.

Later in the day, the Oilers also reportedly struck a new deal for Mattias Janmark, with the forward returning on a three-year deal worth $1.45 million annually.

And just when it looked like the Oilers might have been done, they brought back NHL trade deadline day acquisition Adam Henrique on a two-year deal worth $3 million annually.

While those signings saw the Oilers address their needs, it also saw them over the cap by an additional $2.54 million. It leaves the Oilers needing to reduce that figure while creating the additional space for restricted free agents Philip Broberg and Dylan Holloway, who need new deals which could likely force the club to shed cap space via trade.

By signing Skinner, Edmonton is getting someone who authored six 20-goal seasons — among them three with 30-plus goals — with the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Sabres were literally banking on Skinner to be a consistent goal-scoring threat, which he was in the first year of his deal when he scored a career-high 40 goals.

But the next few seasons would prove challenging as Skinner scored just 21 goals and 37 points over 112 games between the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons.

Even though he bounced back to score 30 goals and 63 points in the 2021-22 season and another 35 goals and a career-high 82 points in 79 games during the 2022-23 season, Skinner had 24 goals and only 46 points this past season.

It was his third-fewest goals in his career when playing more than 64 games; his 46 points were the second fewest in a season in which he played more than 64 games.

Ultimately, it proved to be a level of production that was too costly for the Sabres but could come at the right price for the Oilers as they seek to win their first Stanley Cup since 1990.

Originally Appeared Here

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