Draft Watch: Jeff Skinner

The Rangers have the tenth overall pick in the draft, and while some writers think the Rangers will draft a goalie (for some unknown reason), the Rangers most pressing need at the NHL level is a scorer. In the fourth installment of this series (Nino Niederreiter, Ryan Johansen, Vladimir Tarasenko), we look at a young center playing on the Kitchener Rangers (OHL), Jeffrey Skinner.

The 5’10 195 lb center has put together a solid season with Kitchener, putting together a line of 50-40-90, with 72 PIMs in 64 GP during the regular season, and 20-13-33 with 14 PIMs in just 20 playoff games. Skinner, currently ranked #9 in the ISS top 30, established himself as one of the top snipers in the OHL this year, and finished this season with more goals than both Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin, the projected #1 and #2 picks in this year’s draft. Skinner’s ability to lurk in the offensive zone and capitalize on opportunities certainly helped him become this dangerous in the OHL. A very intelligent player, Skinner also excels at playing a two-way game in the OHL.

Despite the fact that he finished with more goals than Hall and Seguin, Skinner has a lot of doubters, and an equal number of questions coming his way. He can score, but his skating ability, particularly his speed, is constantly being called into question. However, his strength on his skates and his agility definitely make up for his lacking speed at this level. He finds open ice in the OHL with relative ease, but will struggle at the next level unless he becomes a faster skater. Also, like most small forwards, there is always a question of his ability to adjust to the physicality of the NHL game.

Skinners coach compares him to Mark Recchi (Insider Only):

“Recchi is still in the league because of his skating and his strength, and Jeff is a Recchi-type player for me. He’ll have the opportunity to win a Stanley Cup because of the way he plays.”

Recchi is one of the best forwards to play this game, netting over 500 goals and almost 1,500 points, so if Skinner turns out like that, any team that drafts him will be thrilled. But to meet that potential, he is going to have to work on his skating, while continuing to put the puck in the net. His shot is his meal ticket, which might just get him into the top ten.

Photo Credit: Walt Dmoch, OHL Images

6 Responses to “Draft Watch: Jeff Skinner”

  1. jurgenno88 says:

    I like what i’ve read about Skinner but i actually think we can draft down a few spots and land him. Going on team needs i think he’ll slip to between 12-16. I have said i dont mind trading down so if Skinner was there then why not.
    Think i’d prefer a guy with more size though. Our prospects aren’t blessed with size in general.

    • Dave says:

      He’s one of those guys that has his stock rising. I don’t think he’s a top 10 guy, but he could go there if someone doesn’t want to take a risk on the Russian guys (Tarasenko, Burmistov).

      TSN wrote an interesting article about how the era of small forwards is being ushered in. Size on the blue line protects the small forwards with speed and skill. It’s worth a read.

  2. JayoftheDead says:

    Not sure why so many Rangers fans are drooling over Niederreiter. Skinner is the kid they should be gaga about.

  3. JayoftheDead says:

    Oh I also read in The Hockey News that Skinner was an internationally ranked figure skater. So any knocks on his skating ability is probably nonsense. This is something I wasn’t aware until I read THN’s Draft Preview. Oh, and a big LOL @ THN for dropping Skinner so low in their rankings. It just shows how much credibility that magazine has lost. I blame horrible, know nothing writers such as Adam Proteau.

  4. JayoftheDead says:

    One more thing… remember what a bad skater Robitaille was said to be? His career didn’t turn out to be too shabby. And like Skinner, he was someone who knew how to get himself open at all times. But Skinner has grit and a two way game, both things Luc was said to have lacked.

  5. Dave says:

    I agree with you on most counts, but I would still prefer Niederreiter of Skinner. Skinner isn’t exactly what we would call a terrible fall back option, he is a top ten pick after all. If he comes to the Rangers, I think fans will be pleased with him.