Jeff Skinner was 18 years old when he laced up his skates for his first NHL game.

The forward had been selected by Carolina with the seventh-overall pick in the 2010 NHL Draft and made the Hurricanes’ opening night roster just a few months later.

Skinner skated 16:26 in his debut and recorded two shots in Carolina’s 4-3 win over Minnesota in the NHL’s Premiere Series in Helsinki, Finland. He tallied his first NHL point and scored the game-winning shootout goal in the Hurricanes’ 2-1 victory over the Wild the following day.

“Yeah, I think there’s sort of snippets you remember from throughout the day or kind of leading up to the day or kind of leading up to the game,” he said. “It’s obviously a good memory, I think. Yeah, it’s cool to look back on now.”

Skinner went on to play eight seasons in Carolina before being traded to Buffalo ahead of the 2018-19 campaign. Nine-hundred and ninety games later, Skinner is set to suit up for his 1,000th career game when the Sabres host the Washington Capitals on Tuesday.

Following Monday’s practice at KeyBank Center, Skinner used the moment to reflect on his career to this point and those who helped him along the way.

“Yeah, it’s pretty cool,” he said. “I think, for me, it just sort of gives you a chance to kind of look back and reflect on kind of everyone that’s helped you get to this point. Obviously, there’s like a lot of ceremony things going on, reflection, and stuff. But we still got to play the game, so I just focus on the game. But it’s cool to look back and see the support. I got a few friends and family coming to town, so that’ll be fun.

“I’m, obviously, happy I got to come here and be a part of this organization.”

Jeff Skinner addresses the media

The 31-year-old is now the oldest player in the Sabres locker room and will achieve a milestone only 46 active players have reached while becoming the 393rd player in league history to accomplish the feat.

“You don’t think about it, I don’t think, or at least I didn’t, when you first come into the league,” Skinner said. “But yeah, you got to have some good luck. You have to have the opportunity to go out there. I’ve been fortunate to play a while and yeah, I’m grateful for that.”

Sabres coach Don Granato shared what Skinner has meant to the team during his time in Buffalo.

“On the ice, you see that he’s a competitive guy, he’s feisty, he’s emotional,” Granato said. “Certain moments in a game he can be a spark to a team. And then off of the ice, he’s obviously a guy that teammates love and like, too, and enjoy being around. He brings a lot.”

Don Granato addresses the media

The first 10,000 fans in attendance for Tuesday’s game will receive a commemorative red beanie featuring a print of Skinner’s signature. Skinner-themed giveaways will also be held throughout the night.

For more information on the celebration, click here. 

Here’s more from practice.

1. Jordan Greenway was absent from practice due to an upper-body injury. He will be undergoing further testing but the hope is that he is in the day-to-day range, the team shared.

Greenway skated 20:30 in Buffalo’s loss to Toronto on Saturday, including 7:32 of power-play time and 3:49 of shorthanded ice time.

2. Here’s how the group lined up in Greenway’s absence:


77 JJ Peterka – 72 Tage Thompson – 89 Alex Tuch

9 Zach Benson – 24 Dylan Cozens – 22 Jack Quinn

53 Jeff Skinner – 19 Peyton Krebs – 13 Lukas Rousek

50 Eric Robinson – 28 Zemgus Girgensons – 71 Victor Olofsson

17 Tyson Jost


25 Owen Power – 26 Rasmus Dahlin

4 Bowen Byram – 10 Henri Jokiharju

78 Jacob Bryson – 75 Connor Clifton

38 Kale Clague


1 Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen

27 Devon Levi

31 Eric Comrie