4 fun facts about Oilers’ new addition Jeff Skinner

Edmonton Oilers Jeff Skinner
Photo credit:Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Sean Panganiban
16 days ago
The first day of free agency was eventful for the Edmonton Oilers, particularly with the early signing of forward Viktor Arvidsson. While some in Oil Country were still pencilling in their lineup projections for next season, it was later announced that they had signed forward Jeff Skinner to a one-year contract worth $3 million annually.
Skinner scored 24 goals last season with the Buffalo Sabres, and he’s slated to play in the Oilers’ top six in the 2024-25 campaign. With that in mind, here are four fun facts to get acquainted with Edmonton’s new addition.

Skinner Was a Competitive Figure Skater

Skinner started taking figure skating lessons as a child and continued to do so well into his teenage years with the York Region Skating Academy. He skated five days a week as a figure skater, which helped improve his balance and edgework, while also competing in minor hockey.
He went on to win a bronze medal in the juvenile division at the 2004 Skate Canada Junior Nationals as a figure skater before deciding to focus solely on hockey. Interestingly, it’s been reported that he can do a full triple axel in full hockey equipment—practically making him a real-life Kenny Wu— a reference for those who have seen ‘D2: The Mighty Ducks’ movie. Additionally, Skinner described how figuring skating has helped him, saying, “Figure skating has given me a unique side advantage. Being on my skates that much has made me very comfortable on the ice.”
Also, his first NHL coach and recent Stanley Cup winner, Paul Maurice, described Skinner’s strengths as a skater during his rookie season with the Hurricanes, saying:
“His balance, his ability to move around, to change directions, to get out of (difficult) places and his edge control. He does unusual things with his skates. It’s his ability to get out of the way.”
The figure skating lessons Skinner took have paid off, as he’s tallied 670 career NHL points and earned over $75 million in career earnings. Additionally, early projections have the forward pencilled in next to Leon Draisaitl next season, but with his excellent edge work, I can’t help but think of the possibilities of him playing fetch with Connor McDavid off the rush and weaving through the opposition. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, either Draisaitl or McDavid will have a proven finisher, a former 40-goal scorer, on their line.

Skinner Led All Rookies in Points and Won the Calder Trophy

The hot topic heading into the 2010 NHL Draft was the Taylor vs. Tyler debate, as fans and analysts speculated whether the Oilers would select Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin with the first overall pick. Ultimately, the Oilers chose Hall, but at the number seven spot, the Carolina Hurricanes selected Skinner, who had an exceptional final season in junior, tallying 90 points and was one of only two players to reach the 50-goal mark in the OHL that year.
Despite the hype surrounding Hall and Seguin at the draft, it was Skinner who was named Rookie of the Year in the subsequent season. He tallied 31 goals and 32 assists, leading all rookies in points and edged out the San Jose Sharks’ Logan Couture and then New York Islander, Michael Grabner, to win the Calder Trophy.
Additionally, Skinner was named to the NHL All-Star Game that season as a replacement for the injured Sidney Crosby, marking him as the first 18-year-old All-Star since Steve Yzerman and, at the time, the youngest ever. Moreover, his debut in the All-Star Game took place in front of his hometown crowd in Raleigh, NC.

Skinner Has a Reputation for His Charity Work

When Skinner was a member of the Hurricanes, he launched his initiative to honour local teachers, called ‘53’s Difference Makers’ and the Charity recognized teachers at 15 Hurricanes home games throughout the 2016-17 season. Each of the selected teachers received a $1,000 donation for their school, a $100 teacher’s store gift card, four tickets to a Hurricanes game, and a postgame meet-and-greet. Skinner spoke of the importance of the initiative, saying:
“I think it’s important to recognize teachers because of how big of an impact their job has on the future,” He added. “Also, a lot of teachers spend time and energy that goes above and beyond, and any time you can recognize and show appreciation for that kind of selflessness, it is a good thing to do.”
In addition, he also took on charity work during his time with the Sabres in 2020. To help during the COVID-19 pandemic, he made a trio of $53,000 donations— a reference to Skinner’s NHL number 53—to COVID-19 initiatives in Buffalo, his hometown of Markham, Ontario, and Kitchener, where he played junior hockey.
The recipients of Skinner’s donations included a relief fund initiated by Pegula Sports and Entertainment, the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers (delivering over 150,000 meals to the Food Bank of Waterloo Region), and Markham Stouffville Hospital.

Skinner Holds NHL Record of Most Regular Season Games Played with No Playoffs

Skinner has played in 14 NHL seasons, tallying 670 career points, including a career-high 82 points during the 2022-23 season with the Sabres.
Additionally, the 32-year-old played his first eight seasons with the Hurricanes and his last six seasons with the Sabres. Remarkably, in each of those years, his teams failed to make the playoffs. When Skinner played his 908th game during the 2021-22 season, he surpassed former NHLer Ron Hainsey and earned the record for most regular season games played without playing a playoff game.
Last season, Skinner became the 7th fastest player in NHL history to reach the milestone of 1000 NHL games played and in the process, he became the first player in NHL history to play 1,000 games without ever appearing in a playoff game.
When the Sabres bought out the remainder of his three-year contract on June 30th and he was deciding where to sign next, he may have seen Edmonton’s lengthy playoff run, noticed the pleasantly chaotic crowd at Rogers Place, and decided, ‘Sign me up.’ Needless to say, with Skinner signed on with the Oilers next season, the chances of him playing in the playoffs are pretty good.
With that in mind, where do you see Skinner playing in the Oilers lineup in 2024-25?


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