Editorials

5 Forwards the Blackhawks Should Be Targeting in Free Agency

By Tony Gianares
CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 31: Artemi Panarin
CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 31: Artemi Panarin /
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BUFFALO, NY – APRIL 04: Jeff Skinner #53 of the Buffalo Sabres carries the puck during an NHL game against the Ottawa Senators on April 4, 2019 at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Sara Schmidle/NHLI via Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY – APRIL 04: Jeff Skinner #53 of the Buffalo Sabres carries the puck during an NHL game against the Ottawa Senators on April 4, 2019 at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Sara Schmidle/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Jeff Skinner

Jeff Skinner is a top-6 caliber sniper who plays left wing. He was originally drafted 7th overall by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2010. Skinner was always a promising prospect, but a combination of inconsistency and sporadic injuries have prevented him from being a consistent difference maker.

In his rookie season, Jeff Skinner posted 63 points (40G, 23A) in 82 games with a 3 ± rating which won him the Calder Trophy in 2010-11. Now playing in the final year of his 6-year, $34.350 mil ($5.725 mil AAV) deal, the Hurricanes decided to trade Skinner to the Buffalo Sabres.

The Sabres are a relatively young, up and coming team that Skinner has meshed really well with. This season, he posted a respectable stat line of 63 points (40G, 23A) in 82 games with a 0 ± rating. This was his first 40 goal season, so it’s possible that his true ceiling has finally been revealed.

By adding Jeff Skinner, the Blackhawks would not only bolster their roster depth, but they’d also gain more flexibility in line combinations. I could see Skinner playing on the 1st line or 2nd line. He would fit in really well on a variety of line combinations. A line of Skinner-Toews-Saad seems like a pretty solid option.

A report came out that Jeff Skinner reportedly said that he believes he is worth $9.5 mil AAV.

That asking price is a little too high for my liking, especially considering Skinner has never reached 70 points in a season. I think a range of $7-8.5 mil AAV would be a little more reasonable and realistic.

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