BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Buffalo Sabres forward Jeff Skinner has agreed to waive his no-movement clause, freeing the team from having to protect him during the Seattle Kraken’s expansion draft next week.
Skinner’s agent, Don Meehan, confirmed his client’s decision in an email to The Associated Press on Wednesday. The Athletic first reported the player’s decision.
The Sabres initiated the move, knowing it’s unlikely Skinner will be selected by the Kraken given the under-performing winger has six years left on an eight-year, $72 million contract.
What the move does is allow Buffalo to keep an additional forward or defenseman upon submitting its protected list of players on Saturday.
All players with no-movement clauses are required to be protected,. Teams have the option to submit a protected list of either eight skaters and a goalie, or seven forwards, three defensemen and a goalie in advance of the draft on July 21.
The Sabres are focusing on developing with youth after finishing last in the NHL standings for the fourth time in eight seasons and extending their playoff drought to an NHL record-matching 10th season. Buffalo could use Skinner’s spot to protect a young forward such as Rasmus Asplund, or a defenseman such as Henri Jokiharju or Will Borgen, who would otherwise be exposed.
Skinner’s value has dropped dramatically since signing his contract in June 2019 following one season in Buffalo in which he scored a career-best 40 goals and added 23 assists in 82 games.
The 29-year-old has since combined for 21 goals and 16 assists in 112 games over the past two seasons. Skinner particularly struggled finding a regular role under coach Ralph Krueger, who was fired in March and replaced by Don Granato.
Krueger cited accountability and team culture for benching Skinner for three games in February.
Skinner is a four-time 30-goal-scorer, who spent his first eight NHL seasons in Carolina before being traded to the Sabres in August 2018.