Skille was part of a package trade to the Chicago Blackhawks that involved Michael Frolik in 2011 and has seen limited ice time since he's been in South Florida but this season the Cats will count on him to contribute on the left wing.
Behind the Numbers
If you look at Skille's NHL stats his numbers don't look too impressive. In his six NHL seasons he's never skated in more than 50 games in one season and has never put up more than 17 points in a single season. The true story isn't uncovered until you dig a little deeper to figure out what Skille was up to when he wasn't skating in the NHL.
Skille was a high draft pick. The Blackhawks selected him in the first round (7th overall) in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. He played well for the Hawks but frequently bounced between the Hawks and their AHL affiliate the Rockford Ice Hogs. The full picture of Skille's career becomes apparent when you look at his minor league numbers. For example, in the 2009-10 season Skille only played 6 games with the Hawks, scoring 2 points. That same season with the Hogs Skille skated in 63 games and notched 49 points. I'm not suggesting that 49 points in the AHL is the same as in the NHL but it's an impressive number nonetheless.
Place with the Panthers
The Hawks couldn't find a place for Skille in their lineup but he has found a good home in Sunrise. The Cats will depend on Skille to play behind Kris Versteeg on the left wing, a position that isn't particularly deep in talent.
Skille will get his chance to shine this season and should be in good company on the ice. Last season Skille put up 10 points in 46 games; those numbers aren't bad but if he wants to skate on the Cats' second line he'll have to pick up the pace. There will undoubtedly be a battle for the second line position between Skille and Peter Mueller who the Panthers signed this offseason.
The future is unwritten for Skille. In the 2012-13 season he will have the opportunity that he has been waiting for his entire career and it is up to him to make the most of it. The Panthers and their fans will watch Skille closely in hopes that the young man will step up and make himself an indispensable part of the Panthers' scoring machine.
More from this contributor:
All player trade and injury information from FloridaPanthers.com
Kristian Eberwein is a freelance journalist from Orlando, Florida. He was an English major at the University of Central Florida and has been a part of the Florida hockey community for the past twenty years. Follow him on Twitter @KrisEberwein
- Sports & Recreation
- Ice Hockey