Is Jeff Skinner the real deal?

As an 18-year-old rookie last season with the Carolina Hurricane, Jeff Skinner was selected to the All-Star team and posted 31 goals along with 32 assists en route to winning the Calder Trophy as the best rookie in the NHL. As a 19-year-old in his second season in the NHL, Skinner so far is showing no signs of a sophomore slump and has picked up his game right where he left off last season.

Skinner finished last season with 17 points in his last 20 games as the Hurricane battled hard for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, which they eventually lost out on to the New York Rangers by a two-point margin. In his first three games this season, Skinner has already shown himself to be somewhat of a set-up man, notching one goal and tallying four assists while playing on a line with Eric Staal and Tuomo Ruutu.

After such a quick start to the season, whether Skinner can continue this pace and avoid a sophomore slump isn’t the only question to consider. The real question is, how good can Skinner be? In the OHL he posted 50 goals and 90 points in 2009-10 with the Kitchener Rangers. After last year’s showing and this year’s good start, where will Skinner top off? Can he elevate his game to the next level this year or next and score 80 points? Or 100? With a line mate like Eric Staal, that’s a very realistic goal for the young winger.

Carolina failed to make many significant additions to their roster during the offseason, and in a tight Eastern Conference where there isn’t much wiggle room amongst teams fighting for a playoff spot, the Hurricane need to get more from the players on their roster. Skinner will be one of those players looked upon to continue his steady play and help improve Carolina’s stance in the standings. He showed great poise as a rookie and has come out of the gate swinging in his second year as a pro. Confidence goes a long way for hockey players and such a fast start on the stat sheet has to be a confidence booster for Skinner.

The Hurricane certainly hope that Skinner will be a vital asset to their club for several years to come. With Skinner and captain Eric Staal in the lineup, the Hurricane have a bright future. The task now is to upgrade their weak points, namely their blue line, and continue to surround their top talent with solid depth to become serious playoff contenders in the coming years. And as Carolina gets better, it will be fun to watch and see how high Skinner can elevate his game.






One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *