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Skinner Signs in Busy Day

Tuesday, 09.21.2010 / 1:27 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Skinner Signs in Busy Day



A whirlwind day for Jeff Skinner is only just beginning.

Paul Branecky
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While most players take a nap in between the morning skate and game time, the Hurricanes’ recent first-round draft choice signed a three-year, entry-level contract on Tuesday afternoon - just hours before his preseason debut against the Florida Panthers at the RBC Center.

“It’s definitely an exciting day,” said Skinner, whose parents were in town to witness the signing. “I just wanted to get it out of the way so I can focus on playing hockey.”

General Manager Jim Rutherford has been glowing in his praise of Skinner ever since draft day. That continued through the team’s rookie conditioning camp, the Traverse City prospects tournament and the first few days of training camp.

“He does things that not many players can do,” said Rutherford. “He has a very special talent and plays with so much determination when that game is on the line because he wants to win.”

Since Skinner could still end up returning to his junior hockey team in Kitchener, the contract may not kick in this season. His performance during the rest of camp will determine that, although it would appear that he has an excellent chance of making the season-opening trip to Europe.

“I hope so, but I really can’t focus on that,” he said. “I’m going to leave those decisions to higher people and do all I can do, and that’s play hockey.”

The belief among Hurricanes management and coaches is that, despite being just 18 years old and having never suited up the professional level, Skinner possesses all the tools that could make him an NHL player this season. They also feel that off-season conditioning work with former Hurricane Gary Roberts has prepared him for the prospect of playing against older, more physical players.

Jeff Skinner may actually be a little more physically advanced (than Eric Staal in his rookie year),” said coach Paul Maurice. “This guy is pretty powerful and has such a great skating stride.”

Skinner said that he did not feel the contract would put any added pressure on him during camp and particularly during the Florida game. Part of that is because all young players in camp will likely be feeling enough pressure as it is, although their coach is encouraging them to play loose.

“I want to see them have some fun,” said Maurice. “I know the nervousness and the tension that comes from being a young player in this league, but I also want them to have a feeling of excitement for what they might get accomplished on the ice and absolutely not a feeling of dread about a mistake that might hurt their chances.”

”I don’t know if I’d say it’s pressure,” said Skinner. “I obviously realize the chance they’ve taken on my and I really appreciate it. I’m going to do my best to play as well as I can and hopefully prove them right.”

Skinner, who will be down the middle tonight but can also play the wing, is one of four Hurricanes centers that will be playing their first NHL exhibition against Florida. He’ll be on a line with Chad LaRose and Patrick Dwyer and should get plenty of opportunity to contribute.


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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 53 40 9 4 175 120 84
2 FLA 55 32 17 6 153 127 70
3 NYR 55 31 18 6 157 140 68
4 DET 55 28 18 9 138 134 65
5 NYI 53 29 18 6 150 131 64
6 TBL 54 30 20 4 144 130 64
7 BOS 54 29 19 6 159 148 64
8 PIT 54 28 19 7 139 136 63
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 CAR 55 24 21 10 131 143 58
11 MTL 56 27 25 4 151 151 58
12 PHI 53 24 20 9 127 138 57
13 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
14 BUF 56 22 28 6 131 155 50
15 CBJ 56 22 28 6 140 173 50
16 TOR 53 19 25 9 122 149 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 54 15 19 -13 34
J. Skinner 55 19 12 -3 31
V. Rask 53 12 19 0 31
J. Staal 55 12 19 7 31
K. Versteeg 54 10 21 1 31
E. Staal 55 9 21 1 30
E. Lindholm 55 8 16 -9 24
A. Nestrasil 48 8 12 0 20
J. Nordstrom 44 5 10 2 15
R. Hainsey 55 3 11 -12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 15 11 7 .909 2.34
E. Lack 9 10 3 .901 2.74
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