Jeff Skinner has agreed to waive his no-move clause with the Buffalo Sabres, his agent confirmed in an email to The Associated Press on Wednesday.
The decision allows the Sabres to leave the 29-year-old forward exposed to the Seattle Kraken in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft presented by Upper Deck, which will be held July 21 (8 p.m. ET; ESPN2, SN, SN NOW). The deadline for a team to request a player waive his no-move clause was Tuesday at 5 p.m.
“I spoke with (general manager) Kevyn Adams [on] Tuesday morning, whereby he asked if Jeff would waive his no-move clause in relation to the expansion draft,” agent Don Meehan told The Athletic in an email. “Jeff then agreed and I advised Buffalo.”
Skinner had NHL career worsts in goals (seven), assists (seven) and points (14) in 53 games this season for the Sabres (15-34-7), who were last in the NHL standings, including an NHL record 18 straight games without a win from Feb. 25-March 29. Coach Ralph Krueger scratched him from three games in February.
Skinner said at the time he didn’t understand what was accomplished by being benched but stated his desire to remain with Buffalo.
“I love being a Sabre,” Skinner said Feb. 26. “I love the city of Buffalo. I wouldn’t have chosen to stay here if that wasn’t the case.
“I’ve played in a lot of hockey games and I don’t think you learn anything extra by not being out there. This situation is maybe not that straightforward in the fact that lessons being learned is maybe more of a vague concept. In that sense, it’s tough when it’s so vague to come to a concrete answer. I know this is kind of a confusing way of answering the question, but it’s almost like it’s not a significant part of the situation in my view. I try and focus on what’s important, and what’s important is moving forward.”
Kruger was fired March 17 and replaced by Don Granato, who on June 29 was announced as coach for next season. Skinner scored 11 of his 14 points in 28 games under Granato.
Skinner played his first eight NHL seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes, who selected him with the No. 7 pick in the 2010 NHL Draft. Seattle GM Ron Francis was in the Carolina front office from 2014 until April 30, 2018.
Skinner was traded to the Sabres on Aug. 2, 2018. That season, he scored an NHL career-high 40 goals and 63 points in 82 games and then signed an eight-year, $72 million contract ($9 million average annual value) with Buffalo on June 7, 2019.
Since signing that contract, Skinner has scored 37 points (21 goals, 16 assists) in 112 games.
Each NHL team can protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie; or eight skaters (forwards/defensemen) and one goalie. Any player who has a no-move clause must agree to waive it to be exposed. The deadline for teams to submit protected lists is Saturday at 5 p.m. ET.
Seattle will select one player from each team, excluding the Vegas Golden Knights, for a total of 30 (at least 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goalies).