2016-17 Team: Lethbridge Hurricanes (#74)
Date of Birth: November 1, 1998
Place of Birth: Edmonton, Alberta
Ht.: 6’3” Wt.: 205 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: Prospect is eligible for 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
- NHL Central Scouting: 5th (NA, Final)
- NHL Central Scouting: 9th (NA, Mid-term)
- Bob McKenzie: 57th (Mid-season)
- Craig Button: 79th (March)
- Jeff Marek: Top Goalies (October)
- ISS: Unranked (May)
Stuart Skinner comes up big. It’s how he competes. At 6’3, 205 pounds – and still growing – Skinner has enjoyed some big moments in big games. Take, for example, the March 2016 match in which the Lethbridge Hurricanes clinched the WHL Central Division championship. Skinner made 38 saves and scored a third-period goal, his first.
For someone of his size, Skinner’s athleticism separates him from other top NHL goalie prospects. A butterfly style stopper, Skinner’s leg pads cover large portions of the net and he is able to repeat the movement several times in a row. From post-to-post, Skinner hardly lumbers. He is quick and nimble enough to maintain vision of the puck, post-to-post, when he’s burdened by a crowd in the crease.
— FutureConsiderations (@FCHockey) April 17, 2017
Couch-potato general managers likely will point to an apparent decline in Skinner’s performance during his second season with the Hurricanes (3.26 GAA, .905 save percentage). Compared to his rookie campaign when he posted a 2.73 GAA and .920 save percentage, it was a dip, but NHL insiders pointed to a lack of early season defensive depth for part of his “sophomore slump.”
During 2016-17, Skinner worked on maintaining a more even-keeled approach to his on-ice performance. His positional play also required maintenance and over the course of the season he adjusted better to shooter angles. He also worked to improve his glove work.
NHL Draft Projection
Despite pedestrian regular-season statistics and a sub-par showing last spring at the Ice Hockey U18 World Championship (2.82 GAA, .860 save percentage), Skinner remains a top goalie prospect for the NHL draft. With his size and agility, he should be off the board by the end of the second or third round.
“When you have a goalie like (Stuart Skinner) you always have a chance.” – Brady Pouteau, Lethbridge Hurricanes teammate
“He’s a rock solid guy back there for us. You see his demeanor, he’s so calm, and anytime he’s on his game he’s just calm. You have the utmost confidence in him, any winning team needs a goalie like that.” – Giorgio Estephan, Lethbridge Hurricanes teammate
- Controlling rebounds
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Positional play
Skinner is big and athletic. NHL executives covet those characteristics when considering the development of a young goalie. Strong on his skates and if he continues developing his improved mental approach, Skinner projects as a possible No. 1 stopper in the near-future.
Risk – 3/5, Reward 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Goaltending – 8/10
The goal Skinner scored in March 2016 marked just the seventh time in WHL history a goalie scored during a game. On Feb. 7, Skinner was named CHL Goaltender of Week after posting two wins with a combined 0.99 GAA and .970 save percentage. He competed in the 2017 CHL/NHL top Prospects Game prior to earning the weekly award. With SSAC of the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League, Skinner’s record was 18-1-2 with a 1.75 GAA and .929 save percentage and 4 shutouts in 2012-13.
Jeff Hawkins is a career sportswriter who has collected eight industry awards, including two Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) honors. Hawkins has served as a beat writer for the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks and UHL’s Adirondack IceHawks. A husband and father, Hawkins enjoys live music, hiking, New York-style pizza with Dr. Pepper, and writing with his golden Labrador retriever “mutt” cuddled around his feet.