24-Year-Old Left Wing – Carolina Hurricanes
Jeff Skinner Contract Information:
Signed a six-year contract extension worth $34.34 million in August of 2012. The extension will kick in at the start of the 2013-14 season.
Skinner finished with a team-high 51 points this season, the third-best total of his six-year career.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Despite missing only five games in 2014-15, Skinner barely passed the 30-point barrier and posted a career-worst minus-24 rating. The speedy winger still potted 18 goals, including four power-play tallies, but more was expected from him after he exploded for a career-high 33 goals in 2013-14. Skinner is only 23 years old and fired an impressive 235 shots on goal last year, so it’s very likely that his point total will rebound during the upcoming campaign. With the addition of power-play quarterback James Wisniewski and a healthy Jordan Staal to the man advantage, Skinner should be well positioned to bounce back if he sticks on the Canes’ top line and top power-play unit. While the former OHL 90-point-getter has tremendous offensive skills, he’s more of a sniper who looks for his own shot rather than setting up others. Things are looking up in Carolina, so look for the youngster to get back on track to some extent.
On the surface, Skinner’s 54 points last season – his second-highest point total since his 63-point effort as a rookie three seasons earlier – was a very positive development. First of all, he set a career-high in goals with 33, but more importantly, he played the majority of the season unhurt, following two seasons in which he was plagued by concussions. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, Skinner was maddeningly inconsistent last season, running from white hot (25 points in 19 games from Nov. 29 to Jan. 9) to stone cold (four points in 14 games from Feb. 8 to Mar. 21), so you never knew day-to-day what kind of output you were going to get from him. On the bright side, however, we have now seen the kind of player Skinner can be when he’s firing on all cylinders, which makes for a ton of upside given that he’s still only 22 years old and not yet in his prime. From a fantasy perspective, he’s a high-risk, high-reward type of player, so don’t be afraid to draft him in the early- to-middle rounds of your draft. Make no mistake – a breakout season is coming – it’s just a matter of when.
Last season, fantasy owners were understandably worried after Skinner went down in February with yet another concussion, his second in as many years. The good news is, he wasn't out for long and finished the season with a respectable 24 points in 42 games. This season, a presumably healthy Skinner will look to get back to the form he showed in his rookie season three years ago - the one that saw him score 63 points in 82 games. He has all the talent to do so, and will likely open the season as the team's second-line left winger alongside Jordan Staal.
Fantasy owners who drafted Skinner for 2011-2012 expecting a repeat performance of the 20-year old's sensational rookie campaign were left a little disappointed last year, as multiple factors contributed to 20-goal, 44-point total in 65 games. However, when factoring in the time the Ontario native missed due to concussion symptoms and a short suspension, Skinner's points-per-game did not drop off significantly at all in 2012. Given that year three is often the breakout season for high draft picks, Skinner could reward fantasy owners who display some confidence in him come draft day.
As the hockey world prepared for the 2010-11 season, there seemed to be endless hype about Skinner, Carolina’s first-round (No. 7 overall) draft selection from 2010. Apparently watching him plow through the junior ranks, where he tallied 141 points (77 G, 64 A) with the Kitchener Rangers, was enough for the Hurricanes to let him skip over the minors altogether and give him a shot in the NHL. At the tender age of 18, Skinner combined his natural sniping ability and excellent vision to capture 31 goals and 32 assists, a point total that led all rookies and helped him earn the Calder Memorial Trophy for being the league’s top rookie. He’ll be a hot commodity in fantasy drafts this season.
Skinner was picked seventh overall by the Hurricanes in the 2010 Entry Draft. He is an extremely versatile energy player who knows a thing or two about scoring goals - he deposited 50 goals with the Kitchener Rangers (OHL) in 2009-10. Skinner could stand out in what is expected to be a crowded training camp in Raleigh this season.