Jeff Skinner Hits 1,000 In Buffalo, It Should've Been Raleigh.

Fan favorite Jeff Skinner will be hitting the 1,000 game mark tonight in Buffalo, making him the only player in the NHL to do so without a playoff appearance. Many a Canes fan will quickly note that he should be hitting that mark in red and black.
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Jeff Skinner will reach a milestone tonight that no one else in the NHL has reached, and of everyone in the league, he doesn't deserve. He'll play his 1,000th game without a playoff appearance. While he does have the silver spoon of never being sent to the minors since the Carolina Hurricanes selected Jeff Skinner with the No. 7 pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, I would venture a guess that Skinner would trade even just one playoff game for a brief stint in the AHL.

Despite the Sabres perpetually missing the playoffs, Skinner's numbers have been stellar in Buffalo (more on that in moment), and as in Raleigh, he's personality well received.

Unlike his time in Raleigh, Skinner's time in Buffalo has been noticeably without accolades. As a rookie in 2010-11, Skinner produced 63 points (31 goals, 32 assists) in 82 games to become what was then the youngest winner of the Calder Trophy. In the 2013-14 season he became the fourth-youngest player in Carolina history to score 100 goals (22 years old), behind Sylvain Turgeon, Ron Francis and Geoff Sanderson.

In 2016-17, Skinner scored 37 goals and tied his NHL career high with 63 points. But after one more season in Carolina, where he never made the Stanley Cup Playoffs, he was traded to the Buffalo Sabres on Aug. 2, 2018. Buffalo, worth noting, last made the playoffs in 2011, after Skinner was traded there.

Skinner's 2017-18 campaign had to leave the Canes with trader's remorse. 40 goals and 23 goals for a (then career high) of 63 points would make any team regret a trade. And Skinner wasn't done. Since the trade to Buffalo he's had three 60+ point seasons.

Given the numbers Skinner has produced in the Nickle City, he would certainly have fit in well with the squad currently set for the playoffs for the 6th year in a row. But the trade that sent Skinner to Buffalo remains without a clear conclusion here in the City Of Oaks. While the Canes got the draft pick that brought Pyotr Kochetkov into our lives, the second pick that the Hurricanes used to pick up Alexander Nikishin, it remains to be seen how the trade in its entirety will play out. We all know the first pick was well spent on Kochetkov, but Nikishin has yet to play a minute on NHL ice.

Even though trading Jeff Skinner brought about some great things for the Carolina Hurricanes, having his offensive production now, and negating the rather unfortunate monkey on his back, would have been nice. The Canes, as they are want to do, played the long game and it has partially paid off. None the less, Skinner's 1,000th game in Raleigh would have been a site to see. It certainly would have been in front of a packet house of huge Caniacs ready for playoff hockey.