Cage Match: The Better Fantasy Own – Jason Zucker or Jeff Skinner?

Rick Roos

2018-01-31

Often in fantasy the choice between two players boils down to one who could be on the rise, versus another who’s seemingly more of a steady eddie. Cases in point are Jason Zucker, who could hit 60 points this season after never having previously posted more than 47, and Jeff Skinner, who twice has scored 63 points but with each passing year is seemingly less likely to take things to another level. Which is the better fantasy own now and going forward? Cage Match is on the case!

 

Career Path and Contract Status

 

Zucker, 26, was selected 59th overall in 2010 then played two college campaigns, producing above a point per game in both (91 points in 78 games overall). After that he split time in the AHL (dominating with 63 points in 77 games) and NHL (struggling with ten points in 41 games). Even still, by 2014-15 he was with the Wild to stay, posting 26 points in 51 games. But he failed to carry that momentum into his second season, as his point total dropped by three despite playing in 20 more contests. Last season he rebounded to 47 points in 79 games, and for 2017-18 is on pace to make a run at 60 points.

Skinner, 25, was the seventh overall selection in the same 2010 draft, and entered the NHL that season with a bang, tallying 63 points. From there, it’s been ups and downs. First, concussions limited him to only 106 games over his second and third seasons, yet he produced a still decent – especially under the circumstances – 68 points. A rebound to 54 points in 71 games in 2013-14 was promising, but then he cratered to 31 points in 77 games in 2014-15 before righting his fantasy ship with 51 points in 2015-16. Then last season he saw his output rebound all the way back to 63 points a full six seasons after first having produced the same total, and entered 2017-18 having scored 107 points in his last 136 games.

Zucker is making $2M this season, and is scheduled to be an arbitration-eligible RFA this summer, while Skinner is inked to a contract that dings the cap at $5.725M per season but ends after 2018-19, leaving him a UFA.

 

Ice Time (2017-18 stats in this and other tables are current through January 29th)

 

Season

Total Ice Time per game

(rank among team’s forwards)

PP Ice Time per game

(rank among team’s forwards)

SH Ice Time per game

(rank among team’s forwards)

2017-18