OTTAWA ON - OCTOBER 14: Jeff Skinner #53 of the Carolina Hurricanes skates in a game against the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place on October 14 2010 in Ottawa Ontario Canada. The Ottawa Senators defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)
Last night, Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford broke the news himself that a contract extension with forward Jeff Skinner was on its way and this morning the details were announced: a contract extension worth six years and $34.35 million. The Hurricanes have been very aggressive this offseason and showed yet another commitment to building a successful team by locking down Skinner until 2019, when the dynamic forward will be 27 years old. It's just about the perfect contract for both team and player as Skinner will just be reaching his prime as a player when it's time to negotiate his next contract.
Every time a young forward has signed a major contract like this one, the instant thought is to compare this to the Jamie Benn situation and how comparable these contracts are to Benn and the Stars. The Stars are wanting a "bridge" contract, one that would allow the Stars to renegotiate in a few years for a longer extension that locks Benn up for the long term -- this is what they've done with Loui Eriksson and James Neal in the past. Benn, following along with most of the other extensions this summer, wants a long-term deal.
It's important to note that Skinner still has one year remaining on his ELC and has played just two seasons in the NHL; more importantly, he's just 20 years old compared to Benn already being 23. Benn is also a bit of a different player than Skinner and currently holds the position of the Face Of The Franchise -- which makes determining his exact worth difficult compared to other players. The best comparison is John Tavares, who actually signed a cheaper contract than Skinner.
The other issue here is that here's an example of yet another team signing a young player to a long-term contract without waiting for the new CBA. Are the Dallas Stars out-thinking themselves here or are other teams not playing it safe enough?
That being said, six years for $5.75 million a season sounds almost exactly what Benn and his agent could be looking for. Is that a fair contract for Jamie Benn?