Jeff Skinner is having a great season for the Carolina Hurricanes – probably his best since his rookie season – with 14 goals, he leads the Hurricanes in goal scoring and also has a respectable nine assists for 23 points in 26 games.
It also happens to be an Olympic year with the best players from each country representing their nation in the games.
With Skinner’s play this season does he have a chance to make Team Canada’s roster?
For one, he has scored some big-time goals. Skinner has five power-play goals, two game-winners and has scored some important game-tying goals to force overtime. And in one-game playoffs, that type of clutch play can come in handy.
The 21-year-old is also a finesse player, which could be useful on the big ice. For these Olympics, the ice will be 15 feet wider, meaning less of a grinding game and more of a speedy one, which Skinner would excel in.
Skinner also represented Team Canada at the World Championships over the summer, scoring four points in eight games and giving the heads of Team Canada an opportunity to watch him.
With a group of players coming together with no chemistry, teams sometimes try to keep players on the same team together. Last Olympics, Canada did exactly that with Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dany Heatley.
Eric Staal and Jeff Skinner are linemates and have played well together. Staal has a better chance of making the team, but Canada may be interested in selecting both to have some chemistry already created.
But there’s also plenty of things working against Skinner.
And while Skinner leads the Hurricanes in goals, he sits 14th in the league leaders. Still a high ranking, but 12 of the 13 ranked above him are Canadian.
Making Team Canada will be a longshot for Skinner. He’s played extremely well for the Canes, but Canada is a completely different ballpark. With the type of depth the nation has, Skinner just doesn’t stand a great chance.
Now if Skinner was from any other country, I believe he would be on the team, even if it was USA or Russia; it’s just the nature of the team with Canada.
I’m not saying Jeff Skinner will definitely not make the team, just with the type of depth Team Canada has, it will be difficult for him to make it over some other players.