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Player Signing Tue 9/21: Jeff Skinner

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Skinner Gets a Chance with the 'Canes

from TSN's Bob McKenzie

It's a mug's game trying to figure out which 18 or 19 year old kids fresh out of junior hockey will have what it takes to step into the NHL and play well or even regularly, but Jeff Skinner is most certainly going to get that chance with the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Kitchener Ranger centre has agreed to terms on his entry-level contract with the Carolina Hurricanes, who will make it all official at a 12 noon news conference. And Canes' GM Jim Rutherford has all but awarded Skinner a roster spot to start the season.

Now, if Skinner should stumble in pre-season games -- he's playing tonight against Florida on a line with Chad Larose and Pat Dwyer -- there's nothing to say the Canes can't change their plans. Ditto if Skinner, in the first nine games of the regular season, shows he's overmatched at the NHL level. As long as he doesn't play a 10th NHL regular season game, he could be returned to the OHL without burning a year of his new three-year entry level contract.

But if how Skinner played in the Traverse City Prospects tournament is any indication, he will be a fixture in the Canes' lineup this season.

Full Article Here

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Just curious I watched this press conference and am excited about skinner. He seems like a nice grounded kid that we should have fun watching grow up here in Raleigh. Does anyone know why his parents had to come up and sign papers too LOL

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Just curious I watched this press conference and am excited about skinner. He seems like a nice grounded kid that we should have fun watching grow up here in Raleigh. Does anyone know why his parents had to come up and sign papers too LOL

Not exactly sure but maybe by the CBA rules he's still technically a minor even though he's 18.

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Skinner's skills, maturity have impressed Hurricanes

Dan Rosen/NHL.com

Sunday, 10.03.2010 / 4:24 PM

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- The joke around the Carolina Hurricanes is that 18-year-old rookie Jeff Skinner looks like he's 12 and he sounds like he is, well, 12.

Appearances can be deceiving.

Skinner, the seventh pick of the 2010 Entry Draft, may look and sound like a kid who should be asking for autographs, not giving them out, but when he hits the ice, he plays like an adult.

No one is joking about the kid's talent and potential. It's serious and very good for business.

"He can flat-out play," Carolina captain Eric Staal told NHL.com. "There's no question."

That's why he's here with the Hurricanes in Russia, and why he skated on a scoring line with veterans Jussi Jokinen and Tuomo Ruutu during Sunday's brisk, hour-long practice.

Skinner has been so good in his first professional training camp that Canes GM Jim Rutherford is convinced he will play the full season in Carolina. Rutherford can save a season on Skinner's entry-level contract by shipping him back to his junior team, the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League, after he plays in nine games, but that's not on his radar right now.

"Certainly based on his skill level and his hockey sense, I would be surprised if he's not here all year," Rutherford told NHL.com.

Skinner, who doesn't appear to have a brash or cocky bone in his body, gives off that same impression. He spent the summer training with former NHL player Gary Roberts, who also trains Steven Stamkos and several others, building his strength and endurance to prepare for an 82-game season.

Asked directly if he's ready for that grind now, Skinner didn't hesitate.

"Yes," he told NHL.com.

Carolina coach Paul Maurice plans on giving him every opportunity to do so, and he's trying to make it easy on the kid, too.

Skinner was drafted as a center, and Rutherford and Maurice each said he will at some point play in the middle for the Hurricanes, but the plan is to start him at left wing so he doesn't have to worry about all the responsibilities that come with playing center in the NHL.

Kitchener coach Steve Spott set up the same plan for Skinner two seasons ago, when Skinner was an OHL rookie. It worked then as Skinner was allowed to acclimate himself slowly to a higher level of hockey.

He closed the 2008-09 season with 27 goals and 51 points, and followed that by scoring 50 goals and 91 points in just 64 games last season.

"Looking back on my first half of my first year in Kitchener, I was a little bit frustrated, but in the long run I think it helped my career going forward," Skinner told NHL.com. "It's definitely an adjustment (switching from center to left wing), and that's probably why it was so frustrating. I didn't take into account the adjustment and the process that it would take, but I'm a bit more experienced with it now and I'm more comfortable playing the wall and battling for pucks. It's what the coaches are asking, so I'm going to do it to the best of my ability."

Staal went through a similar adjustment, going back and forth from the wing to the middle, when he was an 18-year-old rookie in Carolina. He said the move to left wing will allow Skinner "to focus on playing well in his own end but then making sure he's using his offensive instincts and his offensive tools to his advantage."

Maurice still is tinkering with his lines, but he said there's no doubt Skinner has found a home in Carolina. He will not put a number on what Skinner can or should produce this season -- "Not going to want to do that, no," Maurice told NHL.com -- but he wants to keep him in one position for a while, so a move to center doesn't appear imminent.

"The most important thing is we keep him in a certain role, a fairly consistent role, with who he plays with and against until he gets a real confident base in his game," Maurice said. "He's going to get power-play time and he's going to play with good players.

"He's got a lot of things in his offensive game that you can't actually describe, so I'll just say he's got a great stick. He knocks pucks down, he's somehow able to keep the puck when you think the play is dead. His greatest asset is probably his skating. I'm not talking about straight-away speed, but he has an ability to move in traffic that is really fun to watch."

Skinner caught the eye of former Hurricanes captain Rod Brind'Amour last month at the Traverse City NHL Prospects Tournament, where he finished as the co-leading scorer (7 points) and solo leader in shots on goal (21).

"(As the No. 7 pick) he has to be good, he better be and he is," Brind'Amour told NHL.com while watching Skinner practice Sunday. "I saw him for the first time in Traverse City and he looked good. Then they put him in the mix with these guys here, a whole new level, and his game is improving and improving, so he's definitely stepped it up. That's a great sign.

"He's one of those guys that can elevate his game, and that's why you want him out here at this level because he can get better and better. So far he looks as good as anybody."

Carolina associate head coach Ron Francis, a Hockey Hall of Famer, praised Skinner's hands, hockey sense and the quickness of his feet in tight locations. They all make his lack of size (5-foot-10, 193 pounds) seem like a non-issue.

"He sees where the holes are and can get to them extremely quickly," Francis told NHL.com. "He can see things happen and get to the hole quicker than someone else, and he'll ultimately draw penalties and more important be in a position to score goals. The things he possesses are the things that are hard to teach."

Such as his maturity.

"Oh, he's very mature," Rutherford said. "You love being around this guy. He's smiling all the time and he loves to be at the rink.

"He did what was necessary to prepare himself. I'd say if he didn't work out with Gary Roberts this summer and get his strength level to where it is we may be having a different conversation now, but he put himself in a position to play in this League at a young age."

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not trying to jump the gun here but..........Does anyone else think this kid is going to wreck shop this season? or is it just me? He is almost averaging a point per game..........

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the kid does show some incredible skill. the question is where is the place he can best take those skills to an NHL level. I believe that due to his age, he can't be sent to the Checkers. He has dominated the Jrs so what good does an additional season provide him. Perhaps the best thing is time on the fourth line?

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4th line? Not hardly. He's not going anywhere. He can't play in the AHL, and Rutherford has hinted several times that he's very likely to stick around with the Canes this season.

I don't see but ONE reason why Skinner can't play 70+ games and score at least 15 goals this season. And that reason is injury. I think the Canes are going to struggle, especially against the big Eastern teams, with being roughed up and bullied around. If the Canes can protect Skinner from cheap shots (remember the concussion Sutter got when he was decked by Weight?) he should be able to be a top 6 forward all season. I project him to put up more points/goals than Cole, LaRose and maybe Ruutu. And that won't happen n hte 4th line with Dwyer and KStop. It would be a crime to put Skinner down there. He's not a checking forward. He's a sniper.

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The more he plays, the more he shows, the better he gets. The amazing thing is projecting how good he is going to be in a couple of years. Yesterday's skin-o-rama (TM TSA) was the highlight move, but that take the pass on my skate then kick to my stick was slick. I know that because a very good goalie was utterly juked by it.

Not only will Skinner stick for the whole year, he will be in the top 9 and probably at some point move permanently into the top 6. He will be on a power play unit, probably to the top unit. If he stays healthy 20 goals will be almost assured.

The real question is will he outscore Taylor Hall. At this moment, I'd take the bet that he does.

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1st - Zach Parise is already signed by NJ. He is a RFA next year. For it to be him it would have to be a trade. The Canes said signing not trade.

2nd - Skinner signing a entry level contract would be worthy of a press conference. It is your 1st round pick 7th overall. Hall had one in Edm. Seguin had one in Bos. Now it is Skinner's turn.

3rd - Skinner is the real deal. He will make the team, and have a good rookie season. Even better than Hall.

You heard it here first!

Go Canes!

Remkin, I appreciate your 2nd on my opinion that Skinner will out preform Hall in their rookie season. If McBain preforms well the Canes could have two Calder Memorial Trophy candidates. At least we can hope for that! Just think we may have found that top line winger for Staal that you always wanted.

Edited by rocheccw

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Remkin, I appreciate your 2nd on my opinion that Skinner will out preform Hall in their rookie season. If McBain preforms well the Canes could have two Calder Memorial Trophy candidates. At least we can hope for that! Just think we may have found that top line wing for Staal that you always wanted.

I was wondering where that idea came from!

I do think he can outscore Hall. Part of it will be playing time for each, of course. I might take Hall for most assists, but I'd take Skinner for goals.

I think O'Sullivan ends up being that top winger, and the Canes keep saying eventually Skinner will move back to center. Of course if he does we'll have a log jam of epic proportions with Nash and Dalpe. Someone is going to have to play wing, or get traded. Not a bad problem to have mind you. Imagine Skinner in his full glory as our second line center: Staal/Skinner/Sutter. Wow.

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Imagine Skinner in his full glory as our second line center: Staal/Skinner/Sutter. Wow.

I'll 2nd that with a WOW! Then add Daple as the 4th line center, and move Nash to wing along with Bowman, and Boychuk. Wait I'm getting goosebumps!

And yes, I realize that Boychuk still needs some time to develop, but so did Whitney. Go back and look at Whitney's stats during his first few seasons. Of course, I'm not say that Boychuk will be as good as Whitney.

The future looks bright for Skinner, & the Canes. :score::hockey:

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