Is Skinner a Winner or Chicken Dinner?

Matt Cane with Rob Vollman

2015-09-24

Will Jeff Skinner rebound to his 30-goal ways?

Matt Cane and Rob Vollman have devised a system to project a player's future performance by finding players with common statistics historically (Vollman, on the left) and in the modern day (Cane, on the right). This article is part of a series to introduce readers to their system, and to demonstrate how it can give you an edge in fantasy hockey.

Looking to nab a 30-goal-scorer in the middle rounds of your fantasy draft? If so, of the 22 active players to have managed this feat at least twice in the past five years, one of the few likely to remain available is Jeff Skinner.

Starting his career off with a bang, the 18-year-old Hurricane earned the Calder trophy by scoring 31 points and 63 points in 2010-11. His scoring totals have bounced around since then, going as high as 33 goals in 71 games in 2013-14, and as low as 18 goals and 31 points last year.

The up-and-down nature of Skinner's young career make a challenging test for this new system to find similar historical players (on the left) and his modern-day equivalents (on the right).

Rob's Take: Even with this extra edge, it is really hard to know what to make of Jeff Skinner. Both lists include both legitimate stars and merely secondary support players. They even include some fellow enigmas, like Eric Daze on the left, and Jason Williams on the right.

It's also really hard to peg Skinner's "true" shooting percentage. It's been as high as 14.4% in his rookie year, and as low as 7.7% last year. Likewise, he was 4 for 10 in the shootout in his rookie year, and just 2 for 17 since then. Is this guy a top-line goal scorer, or not?

One thing is for sure, that Skinner will be given every possibly opportunity to score this year. He has that massive contract that carries a $5.725 million cap hit for the next four years, Carolina is without a lot of alternative top-line scoring threats, and Skinner is quite exclusively an offensive-minded player – in traditional terms, his minus-59 since the 2013 lockout is third-worst behind only Nail Yakupov and Sam Gagner. The one exception to that statement is drawing penalties – over the past five years, Skinner has drawn 165 of them, third in the NHL behind Dustin Brown and Claude Giroux, while taking