Commentary

Jeff Skinner leading the rookie class

Carolina Hurricanes forward -- and rookie points leader -- isn't acting his age

Originally Published: January 19, 2011
By Corey Pronman | Hockey Prospectus
Jeff SkinnerTimothy T. Ludwig/US PresswireEighteen-year-old Jeff Skinner has been a revelation for the Hurricanes the first half of the season.

With the NHL season at its halfway mark, we've decided to take a look at how the Calder race is shaping up, picking out the youngsters who have performed at a high level, the ones who have come out of nowhere, and one rook who has failed to meet expectations.

For each player we've included basic stats and GVT -- our proprietary value metric, which you can read about in more detail here -- in addition to projections based on their performance outside the NHL last year. Since VUKOTA does not project for players who have not played previously in the NHL, we use something called NHL League Equivalencies (NHLE). NHLE allows us to project a player's stats for the current NHL season based on his performance in a non-NHL league the year before, and is adjusted for different league qualities and player age.

Note: Stats are accurate as of games ending Jan. 15; all players included below are Calder-eligible.

Standouts

Jeff Skinner, Carolina Hurricanes, Center, 18 years old
Drafted first round, seventh overall by Carolina in 2010
GP: 44, G: 16, Pts: 36, GVT: 7.8
Current G/G: .36, Current Pts/G: .82, Projected G/G: .20, Projected Pts/G: .36

The NHL's top rookie in points and second in goals, Skinner has been nothing short of tremendous this season when you consider the fact that he's only 18. His even-strength CORSI (Editor's note: CORSI is an advanced metric that measures shot differential over the time a certain player is on the ice. For a more complete definition, click here) is only average among Carolina forwards, and that's while he's getting a favorable amount of offensive zone starts, but that's to be expected of an 18-year-old. The mere fact that Skinner is scoring as much as he is, given his age and lack of previous pro experience, should make Carolina management very optimistic about his future. His team is shooting 11.44 percent at even strength when he's on the ice, so expect a future regression in his assist rate, as he's currently over a 1-1 assist-to-goal ratio -- a number he never even achieved in Major Junior.


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Corey Pronman is ESPN's NHL Draft and Prospects analyst. He provides analysis on the top draft-eligible players, prospects drafted by NHL teams and all other relevant prospect information. He lives in New York.