Yet Another ‘Report’ of Skinner Trade Talk

Another report of a team interested in Carolina Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner surfaced last Thursday. Or, maybe it was Saturday, or 10 minutes ago. It has gotten to be the headline du jour during this offseason.

Breaking: Skinner Trade Being Talked About (Still)

The children’s book about the sky falling comes to mind. Sure, it might happen. A deal might be in the process of being drawn up even as this is being typed. The latest version of “reported talks” regarding Skinner has to do with the Chicago Blackhawks. Whether or not there is any veracity to the rumors is anybody’s guess.

The reality could go from a range of Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman sending a text message to Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell and asking, “You guys wanna trade Skinner?” to full-on agents sitting at a table talking numbers and player names to be included in a trade.

Jeff Skinner Hurricanes
Jeff Skinner, Carolina Hurricanes, Mar. 1, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Brandon M. Cain at Second City Hockey wrote last Thursday that the Blackhawks were looking at a Skinner trade. Cain wrote,

The Chicago Blackhawks are “in talks” to acquire two top-end talent left wingers in Montreal Canadiens’ Max Pacioretty and Carolina Hurricanes’ Jeff Skinner, reports David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period. Jay Zawaski of 670 the Score also says the Hawks have discussed Skinner, but his source hasn’t heard the same about Pacioretty.

I can easily imagine Bowman licking his chops over the thought of getting Pacioretty and Skinner. Maybe to sweeten the deal he could get Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel, too.

The Skinner Song Remains the Same

The question was and still remains even at the time of this writing, “What do the Hurricanes get in a trade involving Skinner?” Nothing has changed since I penned, “Trading Skinner a Dicey Proposition” on June 23. At that time, this was what I considered to be the prevailing thought and I maintain that it still should be when discussing the ‘Canes trading Skinner: “The questions that arise are “Why?” and “For who?”

There really is no need to reiterate what I have written previously several times. But, to summarize, letting Skinner play out the last year of his contractto meis the best move. Let’s see if he can find his zone under new Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour. If not, let him go when his contract is up. If he finds it, however, he might just lead this Hurricanes team to the playoffs. He is more than capable of having that big of an influence on the team. In fact, he’s proven in the past how valuable he is as a team leader.

Jeff Skinner
Jeff Skinner (James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports)

In December 2016 I wrote that Skinner was hitting on all cylinders: “Jeff Skinner has emerged as the leader of the team in demonstrating effort and determination and a will to win…Because of his leadership, the team is doing things it has not done in a while on a consistent basis, namely playing like they can win in every game. Of course, they are not winning every game, but Skinner is instilling in his teammates an attitude that believes they can.”

There is more to Skinner than a thrice-concussed, butt-dragging defensive player. Former Hurricanes head coach Bill Peters clamped down on Skinner because of his lack of defensive prowess or effort or both. But, Skinner is a team leader in more ways than one.

Skinner May Not Want to Be Traded

Matt Karash at Canes and Coffee wrote on June 25, “With the addition of (Dougie) Hamilton and the potential for Skinner’s no-move clause to throw a wrench in things, Skinner now seems more likely to be with the team in October as compared to (Justin) Faulk. But the sheer volume of rumors and rumblings around Skinner right now suggest that he too could be on the move.” Without question, there are voluminous rumors about a Skinner trade. But, are they true, and if so, why have they not been consummated?

On July 2, Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer wrote about Skinner and his no-move clause: “It’s no secret Canes general manager Don Waddell has been shopping Skinner, looking for a trade partner. But Skinner also has a no-move clause in his contract that gives him final approval of any deal, and none has been struck.” The translation here is that Skinner has not agreed to be moved.

A major Skinner trade announcement could happen overnight. Or not. The Hurricanes should do one of two things. First, stop talking about trading Skinner. Commit to seeing what he can bring to the party this season. Maybe Brind’Amour can set him on fire and the 40 or more goals Skinner is capable of scoring could be realized.

If that is just not meant to happen, then make sure the return for Skinner is not a bunch of draft picks and prospects. The Hurricanes must have goal scoring if they want to make the playoffs. If the intent is to get rid of a proven scorer, then they need to get one or more in return. Get some picks and prospects if possible, also. But, Skinner can be an elite goal scorer in the NHL. He should command a huge return.

All things considered, the Hurricanes should keep Skinner.