Draft Preview: Stuart Skinner, Not If But When

The day has come: the first round of the National Hockey League Entry Draft in Chicago, Illinois tonight starting at 4:00pm Mountain Time.

While it’s very unlikely that the Lethbridge Hurricanes will have a player called in the opening round of the Entry Draft tonight, today we highlight the player most likely to be the first Hurricane picked in this year’s NHL Draft: Stuart Skinner.

The three-year goaltender is as close to a lock to hear his name in the draft this weekend as the Hurricanes have. Skinner, who is a late birthday (November 1st), is in his first year of draft eligibility despite having already played three complete seasons in the Western Hockey League.

The Edmonton, Alberta product has quickly made a name for himself in his three year career with the ‘Canes. Originally drafted by the Hurricanes 17th overall in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft, Skinner has impressed in his time in Lethbridge having appeared in 151 regular season games in three seasons – the most regular season games ever played by a Hurricanes goaltender. Not only is Skinner the franchise leader in games played by a puck-stopper, he has also made the most saves in the franchise’s history having made 4,462 stops in his three campaigns. He is also one of seven goaltenders in WHL history, and the only netminder in Hurricanes history, to score a goal having potted an empty-net tally against the Medicine Hat Tigers on March 18th, 2016.

In 2016-2017, Skinner appeared in a career-high 60 games posting a record of 34-18-3-2 with a 3.26 goals against average (GAA) and a .905 save percentage (SV%) along with two shutouts. In his franchise-leading 151 regular season games, Skinner has posted a 3.28 GAA and a .909 SV% with a record of 74-51-6-3 and six shutouts.

The 6’4”, 205-pound netminder also appeared in all 20 post-season games for the Hurricanes in 2016-2017 helping the team to the Eastern Conference Championship Series while posting a 3.09 GAA and a .916 SV%.

Skinner has received a lot of accolades in his time with the ‘Canes as well. He has represented Canada on two separate occasions having appeared at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup tournament in 2016 as well as representing Canada-Black at the 2015 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. In addition, Skinner was recently invited to take part in the upcoming Hockey Canada Summer Showcase as one of four goaltenders vying for a spot for the World Junior Championships in Buffalo this winter.

The 18-year-old also took part in the CHL/NHL Top Prospects game this past January in Quebec City. In his half game of work, Skinner stopped 17 of 18 shots he faced in the game and had the best save percentage (.944) of all four goaltenders invited to the game. Skinner was instrumental in a 7-5 Team Cherry victory over Team Orr.

Skinner, who was ranked ninth among North American goaltenders on the NHL Central Scouting Service’s Midterm Rankings, climbed four spots to fifth on their Final Rankings. Other goaltenders who have been ranked fifth among North American goaltenders include:





Joseph Woll

TOR Rnd 3, #62


Matej Tomek

PHI Rnd 3, #90


Kevin Reich

Not Drafted


Spencer Martin

COL Rnd 3, #63


Anthony Stolarz

PHI Rnd 2, #45


Stephen Michalek

MIN Rnd 6, #161


Louis Domingue

ARZ Rnd 5, #138


Scott Stajcer

NYR Rnd 5, #140


Michael Hutchinson

BOS Rnd 3, #77


Bradley Eidsness

BUF Rnd 5, #139


Of those ten goaltenders, four of them have played in the NHL with Hutchinson leading the way with 99 career games, all with the Winnipeg Jets. Domingue has made 77 appearances with the Coyotes while Stolarz and Martin both made their NHL debuts in 2016-2017 with Philadelphia and Colorado respectively.

Skinner will become only the fourth goaltender in franchise history to be drafted as a member of the Hurricanes. The others that were drafted as Hurricanes were:





Logan Koopmans

DET Rnd 5, #166


David Trofimenkoff

NYR Rnd 6, #138


Jamie McLennan

NYI Rnd 3, #48


Of the prior three Hurricanes goaltenders that were drafted by an NHL team, the only one to actually play in the NHL was McLennan who appeared in a total of 254 games with the New York Islanders, St. Louis Blues, Minnesota Wild, Calgary Flames, New York Rangers and Florida Panthers. In his career, McLennan posted a record of 80-109-36 with a 2.58 GAA and a .898 SV%.

Skinner could very well be the highest Hurricanes goaltender ever drafted in the NHL Entry Draft, however, it will be interesting to see if he can un-seed McLennan of that honour.


Skinner is also ranked by other sources:
#5 among North American goaltenders by NHL Central Scouting Service
#48 overall by Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek
#55 overall by McKeen’s Hockey
#63 overall by
#71 overall by TSN’s Bob McKenzie
#88 overall by Future Considerations

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