At the end of the Carolina Hurricanes‘ dismal regular season, Kirk Muller experimented with many of the team’s lines. Besides the top forward line, they could all use some improvement. Muller decided to try Jeff Skinner at center on the third line to further spread out the Canes scoring, and expressed that he liked what he saw and might bring it to the lineup for next season.
Putting Skinner on the third line will probably do more harm than good. He proved in his rookie season he was a force to be reckoned with by winning the Calder Trophy for being the best rookie in the NHL at the young age of 18. In his first season, Skinner ranked second on the team with 63 points and showed that he had the skill set of a star.
Skinner has fallen off a bit from his rookie season, and it shows in his numbers. Although, this could easily be from the two concussions he suffered in his last two seasons. Before being inured this season, Skinner was dominating on a point per game pace.
If you don’t look at the numbers, anyone can see that Skinner has more skill than almost anyone on the team. He is simply too good to not play on the Hurricanes’ top two forward lines, and if he plays center, he has to be moved to the third. Putting him on the third would dramatically lower the output of the Canes second line which wasn’t anything to brag about. Skinner has never had fantastic faceoff numbers, and the Hurricanes need better possession numbers. If the team is lucky, they may be able to pick up a skilled player from the 2013 NHL Draft and use him to provide depth scoring on the third line.