Jeff Skinner
Jeff Skinner
27-Year-Old Left WingLW
Buffalo Sabres
2019 Fantasy Outlook
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. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed an eight-year, $72 million deal with the Sabres in June of 2019.
Logs goal and assist
LWBuffalo Sabres
October 28, 2019
Skinner scored a goal on three shots and added an assist in Monday's 3-2 shootout loss to the Coyotes.
Skinner picked up both of his points in the first period to help stake the Sabres to a 2-0 lead. The goal was his seventh of the season, tying him with Jack Eichel and Victor Olofsson for the team lead. The 27-year-old scored a career-high 40 goals in 82 games last year in his debut season with Buffalo and is on a similar pace again to start 2019-20.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
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
Fires fifth goal
LWBuffalo Sabres
October 19, 2019
Skinner scored a goal on nine shots in Saturday's 4-3 win over the Sharks.
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Generates assist
LWBuffalo Sabres
October 16, 2019
Skinner posted an assist and a game-high nine shots on goal in Wednesday's 5-2 loss to the Ducks.
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Tickles twine in win
LWBuffalo Sabres
October 14, 2019
Skinner scored an even-strength goal in Monday's 4-0 win over Dallas.
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Scores in third straight game
LWBuffalo Sabres
October 9, 2019
Skinner scored a goal on six shots in Wednesday's 5-4 overtime win over the Canadiens.
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Not shy to shoot
LWBuffalo Sabres
October 5, 2019
Skinner scored a goal, recorded a power-play assist and finished with a team-high six shots on goal in a 7-2 win over New Jersey on Saturday.
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