On Wednesday morning, Carolina Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford wrote another chapter in what may wind up being one of the most important off-seasons in franchise history. The additions of superstar forwards Jordan Staal and Alexander Semin will go a long way towards helping the ‘Canes reach the playoffs in 2012-13 for the first time since the spring of 2009. However, at just 20 years old, it is 2011 Calder Trophy winner Jeff Skinner who is without a doubt the future face of the Carolina franchise. The longtime Hurricanes front office boss appears to have recognized that fact in signing Skinner to a brand new six-year, $34.4 million dollar contract extension ($5.733 AAV).
With just one year remaining on his entry-level deal, signed in 2010, the ‘Canes decided to lock-up their prized youngster before another phenomenal season increased the asking price. After being drafted with the seventh overall pick in the 2010 National Hockey League Entry Draft, Skinner has become the first player in his class to sign a second NHL contract.
A detailed figure skating has helped Skinner develop into one of the league’s most dynamic and dangerous forwards. A 63-point (31 goals/32 assists) rookie campaign was enough to earn Calder Trophy honors, as well as the Sporting News Rookie of the Year and The Hockey News Rookie of the Year awards. Skinner didn’t suffer from the traditional “sophomore slump”, but was limited to just 64 games and 44 points (20 goals/24 assists) due to concussion suffered in mid-December at the hands of Edmonton Oilers blueliner Andy Sutton.
I’d expect a breakout season in 2012-13 for the Toronto, Ontario native and a significant increase in production while skating within what looks to be a loaded forward group for the Hurricanes.
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