Feb 8, 2014; Raleigh, NC, USA; Carolina Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner (53) carries the puck against the Montreal Canadiens at PNC Arena. The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Hurricanes Need Jeff Skinner To Be An Offensive Leader Again

Jeff Skinner was the NHL’s hottest goal scorer for nearly two months spanning from late 2013 to early 2014. He showed signs of becoming once of those special players who can be a total game changer.

Dec 5, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Carolina Hurricanes left wing Jeff Skinner (53) handles the puck against the Nashville Predators during the third period at Bridgestone Arena. The Hurricanes beat the Predators 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Skinner scored five points (2 goals, 3 assists) in the 13 games prior to the all-star break. He fell off his insane goal scoring tear after being separated from Eric Staal on the Carolina Hurricanes first line. The Carolina Hurricanes need Skinner to keep scoring.

When the 21-year-old was at his best, the Carolina Hurricanes went 9-4-4 from December 3rd to Jan. 9. In that time, Skinner had 15 goals and seven assists for a total of 22 points in 17 games. He scored at nearly a goal-per-game pace, and was leading the Carolina Hurricanes offense.

Jeff Skinner has been practicing with Elias Lindholm and Riley Nash lately. Hopefully these three can develop some kind of chemistry on the Carolina Hurricanes third-line. If they can’t, Tuomo Ruutu had a terrific Olympics, so he could be a player to put on the third line.

While even strength work is important, Jeff Skinner will get most of his points on the power play and the Carolina Hurricanes power play has struggled all year. If the Canada native can pick up the scoring, the power play percentage will slowly climb up.

It’s unreasonable to expect Jeff Skinner to score at a goal per game pace to finish out the season, but he needs to be an offensive leader and a game changer in order for the Carolina Hurricanes to make the playoffs.

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