Canes' Jeff Skinner named NHL's top rookie

Staff writerJune 22, 2011 

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The Carolina Hurricanes' Jeff Skinner accepts the Calder Memorial Trophy during the 2011 NHL Awards at The Pearl concert theater at the Palms Casino Resort on Thursday, June 22, 2011, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

JEFF VINNICK — NHLI via Getty Images

Jeff Skinner of the Carolina Hurricanes was the youngest player in the NHL last season as a rookie.

On Wednesday, Skinner became the youngest player ever to win the NHL's Calder Trophy as the league's rookie of the year.

Skinner was given the award during the NHL Awards Show, held at the Palms resort in Las Vegas. The two other finalists for the Calder were forwards Logan Couture of the San Jose Sharks and Michael Grabner of the New York Islanders.

"It's pretty exciting," Skinner said in an interview. "It's tough to describe the feeling of winning other than to say it's quite an honor.

"It's an adrenaline rush. You're just so happy and excited at the same time."

Skinner, who turned 19 last month, appeared a bit nervous in making a brief acceptance speech at the Palms hotel in Las Vegas. If so, it may have been one of the few times he came off jittery all year.

"Yeah, I was nervous," Skinner conceded. "At the (NHL) draft my biggest worry was going up to the stage and tripping. Here, I had to make a speech, so you are pretty nervous.

"I had so many people to thank for the opportunity I was given this year."

Skinner is a month younger than former Calder winners Bobby Orr (Boston, 1967) and Dale Hawerchuk (Winnipeg, 1982). Orr and Hawerchuk both were 19 years, two months old and shared the distinction of being the youngest to receive the rookie award.

Tom Barrasso won the award for the Buffalo Sabres in 1984 at 19 years and three months. Barrasso now is an assistant coach and goaltending coach for the Hurricanes.

Skinner is the first player in franchise history to win the Calder Trophy, which has been presented since the 1936-1937 season and is decided on a vote of members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association.

Skinner, jumping directly from junior hockey to the NHL, scored 31 goals and had 63 points in his rookie season, playing mostly at left wing. The Canes' first-round pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft — the seventh overall pick — led all NHL rookies in scoring and was Carolina's second-leading scorer.

Skinner, a native of Markham, Ont., was named to play in the NHL All-Star game in January at the RBC Center. He was the youngest player to compete in an All-Star Game.

Click here for more about Skinner's accomplishments, including a pre-award show interview.

And for more on the awards show, visit our Canes Now blog.

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