Defending Big D continues our annual series of looking at top draft prospects that could possibly have their name called by the Dallas Stars at the 2010 Entry Draft. Today let's take a look at a center who's projected to go in the top 15 and could be the best player available when the Stars pick at 11: Jeff Skinner.
Team: Kitchener (OHL)
Born: May 16h, 1992
Hometown: Markham, ON
Central Scouting Final Ranking: 34th among North American Skaters
The Hockey News: 25th Overall
TSN: 10th Overall
Why the Stars would take him...
While he doesn't exactly satisfy the fan base's need to stockpile defensemen into a system that is barren of blue liners, he might actually be the best player available at #11 and the Stars will have to at least consider him as he's being called by many possibly the "best pure goal scorer" in the draft. Those stats I posted above don't include playoffs, where he scored 20 goals in 20 games. He has a nose for goal scoring, they say, and isn't that kind of the point of this funny old game?
"He has great hands and can be considered a pure scorer with a fantastic quick release. He is smart away from the puck and is always finding lanes to get open and receive passes. ... Not the fastest skater on the sheet,
but a smart player who works hard and ultimately it seems that the puck tends to follow Skinner versus Skinner following the puck."
- International Scouting Services 2010 NHL Draft Guide
He's also described in various places as a good faceoff guy. I don't need to remind you about faceoffs, given how often we talk about that particular shortcoming around here.
Why the Stars wouldn't take him...
Again, a defenseman he is not. The main knock on the guy though is his size (5'10") and his skating ability. We read this a lot of about first round prospects, which is amazing to me, but scouts have doubts about the young mans mobility when faced with higher quality defenders.
Consider conflicting reports about his skating:
Skinner is a slightly abover average skater, but the main strengths of his game are his goal-scoring ability and his intelligence both with and away from the puck. He isn't the biggest player, but his leg strength makes him hard to knock off the puck.
"Skinner doesn't get the love he deserves because he's 5-10 and isn't a dynamic skater.
Mostly they won't take him because we hope that a center is not what they're looking for at 11.