After scoring 33 goals in 71 games last season, there was some thought Jeff Skinner could reach the 40 goal plateau this season.
However, through 48 games the 22-year-old has just 11 goals and is on pace for his second lowest goal total since he turned pro during the 2010-11 season.
“It’s been a little frustrating for me, personally,” Skinner told The News & Observer. “When you want to help the team win, for me, being a part of that is producing offensively. That’s part of my job. So, yeah, it’s a little frustrating.”
The Canes’ forward snapped a 10-game drought scoring his first goal since Jan. 10 in Carolina’s 2-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday.
Skinner started the season slow.
After suffering a concussion in the preseason and missing the first four games of the regular season, he scored just once in his first seven games.
GM Ron Francis agreed with the statement that Skinner was being overly cautious returning from his third concussion in five NHL seasons.
“I think it’s fair assessment to say that, and especially early in the year,” Francis said. “He had a slow start. But lately he has been going into the tougher areas and getting chances. He’s done a better job of that.”
On top of his slow start, Skinner is playing for a new coach in Bill Peters and learning a new system.
With the Canes hoping to be ‘fairly active’ at the trade deadline, Skinner is not worrying about his name popping up in trade rumors.
“I’m still sort of young in this game, and I’d like to keep learning,” Skinner said. “When you go through a stretch like I had, it’s frustrating and a little bit of adversity but something you can learn from in the big picture. That’s what I’m trying to do.”