3 potential buyout candidates the Red Wings must keep an eye on

Conventionally, we think of free agency and trades to help bolster a team, but the Detroit Red Wings could find a serviceable player following the buyout phase.
Nov 15, 2022; Anaheim, California, USA; Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson (36) blocks a shot in front of Detroit Red Wings center Oskar Sundqvist (70) during the first period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 15, 2022; Anaheim, California, USA; Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson (36) blocks a shot in front of Detroit Red Wings center Oskar Sundqvist (70) during the first period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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The Stanley Cup Final is nearly here, but for the 30 teams that weren’t lucky enough to play hockey deep into June, they’re looking at buyout season which takes place two days following the season finale. For the Detroit Red Wings, it means they could find a hidden player among those whose respective organizations no longer have a place for them. 

While nothing has been confirmed yet, let’s check out three players who could easily see their current teams cut ties with them by buying out their contracts, leaving them free to sign elsewhere. I got one forward and a pair of goaltenders who could make sound fits for the Red Wings, even if that hasn’t always been the case regarding their current teams. 

Jeff Skinner is a familiar name who could further transform the Wings

Imagine a pair of 30-something wingers in Jeff Skinner and Patrick Kane going to (and staying in) the Motor City and teaming up. Jeff Skinner’s contract may be one of the worst in recent memory to most NHL fans, but he put up sensational numbers in 2021-22 and 2022-23 when he finished the seasons with 63 and 82 points, respectively. 

He also scored a combined 68 goals in the process before following it up with a 46-point, 24-goal season in 74 games this past year. It wasn’t as impressive, but Skinner also fought through injuries, so he deserves some slack. 

The downside is that Skinner doesn’t provide much defense, and it’s something the Red Wings need to think about while adding a forward for the upcoming season. He will land a lot of takeaways, however, so his defensive play isn’t completely nonexistent, but that’s about as good as it gets for Skinner. 

Still, the thought of him teaming up with Kane (this is assuming Kane re-signs) would give the Red Wings a pair of older but still viable NHL players. And this isn’t even mentioning the plethora of talent Detroit already has at forward. 

If the Sabres bought out Skinner’s contract and if he ended up in the Motor City, this isn’t something to scoff at. Many in the NHL universe may see Skinner as one of the NHL’s bigger disappointments over the last few seasons, but if you pay attention to what he’s done in Buffalo since those first two rough years after he signed that extension, you’ll know he’s a better fit than many would think.