Jeff Skinner
Jeff Skinner
28-Year-Old Left WingLW
Buffalo Sabres
2020 Fantasy Outlook
Skinner's performance last season can be summed up with a single word - dreadful. The 28-year-old winger racked up 40 goals and 63 points in 82 games in 2018-19, a showing that convinced the Sabres to sign him to a monster eight-year, $72 million contract ahead of the 2019-20 campaign. Skinner rewarded Buffalo's commitment by notching just 14 goals and 23 points while posting a minus-22 rating in 59 games last campaign. The 28-year-old winger is a bit of an enigma. He's posted four 30-plus goal campaigns since entering the league as an 18-year-old rookie in 2010, but he's also had four seasons with 20 goals or less over that span. It's safe to assume he'll rebound, at least to an extent, in 2020-21, but his inconsistency makes it hard to trust him from a fantasy standpoint. Skinner will, however, still be worth gambling on in the later rounds of this year's fantasy drafts due to his tremendous goal-scoring upside. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed an eight-year, $72 million deal with the Sabres in June of 2019.
Still sitting as healthy scratch
LWBuffalo Sabres
February 25, 2021
Skinner will sit as a healthy scratch for a third consecutive contest Thursday against New Jersey, The Athletic's John Vogl reports.
ANALYSIS
Skinner's contract has quickly become one of, if not the worst in the league, as he's set to make $9 million annually through 2026-27. The 28-year-old winger has tallied just one assist through 14 games this campaign.
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2020–21 Time On Ice Stats
  • Average Time On Ice:
    13:36
  • Average Power Play TOI:
    1:32
  • Average Short-Handed TOI:
    0:00
 
Ice Time
Power Play
Short-Handed
2018–19
18:31
3:05
0:02
2019–20
16:29
2:29
0:00
2020–21
13:36
1:32
0:00
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Sabres Power Play Depth Chart
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2019
2018
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2012
2011
2010
Skinner scored a career-high 40 goals in his lone season with the Sabres last year and was rewarded for his efforts with an eight-year, $72-million deal to stay in Buffalo. With excellent skating ability and a terrific shot, Skinner excels at getting to the primary scoring areas and knows how to finish when he gets there. He's not much of a playmaker, however, which is why he's never exceeded 63 points in any of his nine NHL campaigns. Skinner posted a career-best 14.9 shooting percentage last season, as he undoubtedly benefited from sharing the ice with terrific setup man Jack Eichel on both the top line and No. 1 power-play unit. In order to live up to his draft day valuation, the veteran winger will need his chemistry with Eichel to keep that shooting percentage from declining back toward Skinner's career 11.2 percent mark.
Skinner took a significant step backward last season with a 49-point campaign – 14 points shy of his previous year's total of 63. He scored 13 fewer goals (24 versus 37) and posted the worst plus-minus rating of his career at minus-27. Rumors of a rift between Skinner and then-head coach Bill Peters circulated after Skinner was demoted to a third-line role for a good chunk of the season, prompting speculation that the 26-year-old winger's time in Raleigh was nearing an end. Indeed, that was the case, as the Sabres sent three draft picks and Cliff Pu to pry Skinner away from the Hurricanes in early August. The Toronto native has shown enough scoring ability that all but guarantees him a top-six role and plenty of power-play time with his new team. In fact, he's expected to be centered by phenom Jack Eichel with versatile playmaker Sam Reinhart on the other side, so don't be afraid to move him up a few notches on your draft sheets.
Skinner took a major step forward last season, matching his rookie season points total with 63 points – including a career-best 37 goals. Furthermore, Skinner shot the puck with abandon last season, notching 281 SOG, good for seventh in the league and finishing ahead of some pretty big shooters like Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid and John Tavares. After years of battling various injuries, including several concussions, Skinner now appears to be completely healthy and ready to resume his role as one of Carolina’s biggest offensive threats. Having posted at least 50 points in three of the past four seasons, you can expect something similar in 2017-18. At just 25 years old, a 70-point season is not out of the question, either.
Make no mistake, Skinner had a pretty special season in 2015-16. He finished with a team-high 51 points, returning to fantasy relevance following a disappointing 31-point campaign the year before. Not only did he hit the scoresheet with more regularity, he made serous strides in the plus-minus department with a minus-2 rating – that's not great, but it looks like gold compared to the minus-24, minus-14 and minus-21 he’d posted over the prior three campaigns. Perhaps more importantly, Skinner’s injury issues finally appear to be behind him, as he played in all 82 games for the first time since his rookie season back in 2010-11. He'll returns for another year as the top-line left wing for the Hurricanes, and at only 24 years old, it's quite conceivable that we haven't seen Skinner's finest work yet.
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.
More Fantasy News
Healthy scratch again
LWBuffalo Sabres
February 23, 2021
Skinner will serve as a healthy scratch for Tuesday's game versus the Devils, Lance Lysowski of The Buffalo News reports.
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Out Monday
LWBuffalo Sabres
February 22, 2021
Skinner will be a healthy scratch for Monday's contest against the Islanders, Bill Hoppe of the Olean Times Herald reports.
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Offensive woes continue
LWBuffalo Sabres
January 31, 2021
Skinner is still searching for his first goal of the season.
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Limited role
LWBuffalo Sabres
January 16, 2021
Skinner has started the season on Buffalo's fourth line.
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Struggles to find twine
LWBuffalo Sabres
May 6, 2020
Skinner managed just 14 goals in 59 games prior to the league suspending play in mid-March.
ANALYSIS
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