The Carolina Hurricanes have to find their winning ways. The team has been dreadful the past few seasons, a lot of which can be attributed to some ineffective play from its top NHL talent.
One such player that has seen himself suffer is Jeff Skinner.
Skinner has gotten a bad reputation with many NHL fans, due in large part to his extensive list of injuries. Whether it’s an upper body injury or a concussion, luck has not been kind to him. However, for all the negative remarks about health, Skinner hasn’t missed much time over the last two seasons, playing in 148 of the team’s 164 games.
Regardless of his time on the IR, Skinner has shown to be a very inconsistent player when he is at full health, especially over the last two seasons. He burst onto the hockey scene during the 2010-11 season with an outstanding 63 points, however he has failed to reach the 60 point plateau since that season. This past year has been the worst professional season of Skinner’s young career.
In 77 games, he only tallied 31 points, a far cry from the 54 he accumulated in 71 games the previous season. The biggest reason to his diminished point production was his ineffectiveness on the Hurricanes power play. Unlike other seasons, Skinner wasn’t featured on the team’s top power play unit, and the results showed.
The 2013-14 season saw Skinner score 11 goals and 9 assists with the man advantage. The following season he only contributed seven points total.
His lack of production and ice time during the power play is only one issue for Skinner. He isn’t taking nearly as many shots on goal. His 235 shots in 2014-15 were a full 39 shots less than the previous year. To make matters worse, he also dropped his shot percentage from .120 to a miserable .077.
Skinner just wasn’t as effective around the net as he once was. Although, to be fair to him, he hasn’t been given many opportunities to succeed on a bad Carolina team. The Hurricanes gave a lot of time on the top line to its young rookie, Elias Lindholm, regulating Skinner to second or third line duty.
For Skinner to be at peak performance he needs to land a spot with Eric and Jordan Staal on the team’s top line and re-establish himself on the Hurricanes top power play unit. If this happens he has a shot at regaining his 63 point form from his rookie season.
However, if he sees time away from the team’s main playmakers, it’s likely that he will remain an inconsistent option on a bad team.
Skinner is still young and has a lot of improving left to do. His mediocre statistics are without question related to the Hurricanes thin roster. He can’t produce points without quality talent surrounding him.
And while Skinner might not be an elite NHL performer, he is simply too good to be this ineffective.