The Carolina Hurricanes strong off-season continued this week with announcement that the team has signed forward Jeff Skinner to a six-year contract extension worth $34.35 million. The deal will pay Skinner $4.35 million in 2013-14 and $6 million per season from the 2014-15 season through the 2018-19 season.
“Jeff is a cornerstone player for our team, and his long-term commitment to the Hurricanes is great news for our franchise and our fans,” Canes GM Jim Rutherford said in a released statement. “At 20 years old, he is still in the very early stages of his career, and we felt it was important to ensure he would be spending much more of it in Raleigh.”
Skinner in his second NHL season in 2011-12, ranked second among Hurricanes skaters in goals (20) and third in points (44) in 64 games played. Skinner won the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie in 2010-11, ranking first among rookies in points (63), second in assists (32) and third in goals (31).
With Cam Ward in net, an underrated blueline with a potential star in Justin Faulk to go with veterans Tim Gleason, Joni Pitkanen, and a top-9 that now includes the likes of Eric Staal, Jordan Staal, Jeff Skinner, Alex Semin, Jussi Jokinen, Tuomo Ruutu, Chad Larose, Jiri Tlusty and Anthony Stewart, Canes GM Jim Rutherford has built the Hurricanes into a likely contender for 2012-2013, and a very good bet to be a team that gets back to the post-season.
ON THE SKINNER DEAL
The Skinner deal is a good deal for both sides, carrying a yearly cap hit of $5.725 million that might seem high right off the bat but is a fair number for the duration of the contract of what type of player Skinner is going to develop into. A 30 goal scorer already in his young career, Skinner at just 20 years old is an entertaining player who is marketable for a small market club. It’s a win-win deal for both sides at the end of the day.
When looking at the Skinner deal, It also shows that Penguins winger James Neal, one of hockey’s young premier power forwards, left some money on the table when he agreed to a six year, $30 million contract in February, when the Penguins had even gone into talks believing it was going to be difficult to keep Neal’s cap hit under $5.5 million.
With Neal having big time agents at Newport Sports, it’s still surprising he didn’t push for something closer to at least $35 million over six years, but Neal is an example of a player who fell in love with Pittsburgh which is a big reason he left some money on the table and there was no prolonged negotiation like Neal’s reps at Newport Sports have been notorious for with key restricted agents in the past.