Jeff Skinner picking the Oilers over the Leafs speaks volumes about both teams

With Jeff Skinner reportedly chose to sign with the Oilers rather than the Leafs, this is only good news about the perception of the setup in Edmonton.
Buffalo Sabres v Toronto Maple Leafs
Buffalo Sabres v Toronto Maple Leafs / Claus Andersen/GettyImages

The general sentiment surrounding the Edmonton Oilers, is that they've had a fantastic beginning to free agency. Certainly it's gone better than was expected (or should that be feared), when considering the plethora of free agents they had to contend with combined with the lack of projected cap space for next season.

Yes, the Oilers didn't come through entirely unscathed, with it a major shame that players such as Warren Foegele and Vincent Desharnais chose to re-sign elsewhere. However, the organisation did extremely well/performed miracles, in bringing back the likes of Adam Henrique, Corey Perry, Calvin Pickard, Connor Brown, Mattias Janmark and Troy Stecher.

In addition, Jeff Jackson and company were able to bring in new faces, including Viktor Arvidsson and Jeff Skinner. As with everyone else mentioned, they signed for what can be termed as team-friendly deals.

Oilers over Leafs

With Skinner in particular, an interesting report has come out, courtesy of TSN's Chris Johnston. During Wednesday's edition of The Chris Johnston Show, the NHL insider claimed that the veteran sniper turned down the Leafs (among others), in order to sign with the Oilers.

The Leafs' angle apparently included enticing Skinner with the prospect of playing alongside players such as Auston Matthews and (assuming he stays in Toronto) Mitch Marner. Certainly, you can appreciate why this would be appealing to a lot of people.

More generally speaking, the Leafs are also a team which is a consistent contender. In this respect, they've been to the playoffs in each of the past eight seasons, which is how long Matthews and Marner have played in the NHL.

Despite this however, Skinner rejected the Leafs' overtures to instead sign in Edmonton, which speaks volumes. Particularly when you consider he would have at least received the same -- if not more -- than the $3 million he will make with the Oilers on a one-year deal.

Oilers organisation in good standing

This tells you everything you need to know about how favourably the Oilers are compared to the Leafs as contenders. And this is despite having 'only' qualified for the playoffs six times in the past eight seasons.

That's because while the Leafs do make the postseason more, they have only won one playoff series during the time period in question. Whereas in Edmonton, the Oilers have won seven playoff series, including six in the previous three seasons, and coming within a whisker of winning it all this past season.

With all due respect to Matthews and Marner, it also helps the Oilers that the have the duo of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. One is the best player in the world, while the other regularly features in the top 5-10 of best NHL players.

This comparison of the players extends to the different levels of success all four have in the playoffs. Pure and simple, the Leafs duo are unable to rise to the occasion and replicate their regular seasons productivity when the pressure increases.

Consider that Matthews has just 48 points in 55 playoff games, while Marner has only 50 in 57. Meanwhile, McDavid has 117 points in 74 games and Leon Draisaitl has 108 in the same number of appearances.

As a result of all this, the Oilers were able to convince Skinner to join the gang in Edmonton. As a result, it makes the roster arguably even stronger than the one which just went all the way to the Stanley Cup Final versus the Florida Panthers.

As we wrote on Tuesday, we consider Skinner an underrated, sneaky good signing. He's usually good for around 30 goals per season, and it was only in 2022-23 that he set a whole host of career highs, including 82 points and a +15 rating, along with a 60.5 Corsi For % in All Situations.

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The 2010 seventh overall draft pick carries the burden of playing the most games in NHL history without making even one playoff appearance. Barring a disaster of epic proportions this should end in 2024-25, after a signing which hugely benefits both player and team.

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