Canes sign Skinner to 6-year contract extension

CorrespondentAugust 8, 2012 

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The Carolina Hurricanes' Jeff Skinner (53) watches the action from the bench during the first period of an NHL game played between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Florida Panthers at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C. on March 21, 2012. The Canes beat the Panthers 3-1.

CHRIS SEWARD — cseward@newsobserver.com

The Carolina Hurricanes have signed Jeff Skinner to a six-year contract extension, general manager Jim Rutherford said Wednesday morning.

The extension will pay Skinner $34.34 million over the six years, which is an average annual value of $5.725 million.

Skinner has one year remaining on his entry contract, so the extension commits him to the Hurricanes for seven more seasons. Under the current collective bargaining agreement, Skinner would have been eligible for unrestricted free agency in five years.

“He’s a player that everybody knows was rookie of the year and he has a great future in front of him. We thank him for making that commitment to be with the Hurricanes.”

As an 18-year-old during the 2010-11 season, Skinner scored 31 goals win the NHL’s rookie of the year award. He was something of a sensation at the All-Star Game held in Raleigh that year as area fans paid him as much attention as some of the league’s best known players.

This past season wasn’t quite as magical for Skinner. While he scored 20 goals in 64 games, he suffered a concussion in a game against Edmonton in December. The aftereffects lingered well into the new year, and it wasn’t until March that Skinner said he felt like he was playing as well as he was before the injury.

Rutherford said there were no concerns about signing Skinner to an extension with the concussion history.

“His concussion is behind him,” he said. “He went through a period where it took a long time to recover, as concussion do. But near the end of the year, he was 100 percent. He went to the world championships; he played extremely well over there – (Carolina coach Kirk Muller) was over there with him.

“We always have concerns about players and the future, but that’s part of the risk that everybody takes when you sign long-term deals. But as for his past injuries, he’s 100 percent.”

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