Could the Rangers target a recently bought-out former All-Star winger?

Jeff Skinner, Rangers
Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers had another stellar campaign last season but came up just short of lifting the Stanley Cup as the Blueshirts lost in six games in the Eastern Conference Final to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Florida Panthers.

The blue and white now ponder what if and enter the offseason looking to bolster their lineup for another run at the trophy that has eluded them since 1994. The Rangers’ biggest need this offseason is another top-six winger, and they could potentially target a recently bought-out former All-Star.

The Rangers could target Jeff Skinner in free agency

Nov 27, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba (8) battles for the puck with Buffalo Sabres left wing Jeff Skinner (53) during the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday, reports from multiple sources, including Chad DeDominicis of Expected Buffalo, revealed the Buffalo Sabres plan to buy out the remaining three years of Jeff Skinner’s contract with an annual average of $9 million.

The four-time all-star managed to put up respectable numbers on a struggling Sabres squad last season, scoring 24 goals and registering 22 assists for 46 points across 74 games.

Skinner has scored 354 goals and registered 313 assists for 667 points across 1006 regular-season games. Despite playing in the NHL since he was 18, the 32-year-old has never played in a postseason game.

Would Skinner to the Rangers make sense?

Jeff Skinner, Rangers
Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

While the Blueshirts’ primary target appears to be a top-six right winger, Skinner could find himself as a fit either playing on the off-wing or boosting the scoring in the bottom six by playing third-line left wing.

The 32-year-old can still produce at an excellent level and would not only give the Rangers lineup some scoring depth but a legitimate shooting threat on the second powerplay unit.

With Skinner still getting paid $9 million, the former Calder Trophy winner may be more inclined to sign a one-year $3 million deal like Matt Duchene’s, which Duchene signed with the Dallas Stars last offseason after Nashville bought out of his hefty contract, still giving president and general manager Chris Drury some cap flexibility.

In addition, Skinner is likely seeking a serious opportunity to make his postseason debut and compete for the Stanley Cup, which the Blueshirts would provide. While the fit wouldn’t be the cleanest, there is enough on both sides for the Rangers to take a gander at Skinner when free agency begins.

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