top of page

The 1,000 Game Journey: Jeff Skinner

By: Juliana Long

Achieving the statistic of playing 1,000 NHL games is not something that comes easily. It requires an enormous amount of hard work and dedication to be able to complete this accomplishment. For many of the NHL’s greats, 1,000 games has been achieved and with that comes an induction into the NHL Hall of Fame. For Jeff Skinner, his journey to 1,000 games was anything but easy. 

Courtesy of

Jeff Skinner entered the league as an 18 year old, who was drafted seventh overall by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2010, after his first year of draft eligibility. Regarded as a prolific goal scorer, Skinner went on to make his first All-Star game, and was the first 18 year old to make an All-Star team since Steve Yzerman. At the end of the 2011 Regular Season, Skinner would go on to win the Calder Memorial Trophy, awarded to the league’s top rookie every season. At the time, Skinner was the NHL’s youngest player to have ever received those honors.

Throughout his time with the Hurricanes, Skinner continued to see individual success, scoring at high paces in every season he played with the team. During this time, the Hurricanes were in the midst of a nine year playoff drought, the fifth-longest drought in NHL History. By 2018, the Hurricanes traded Skinner to the Buffalo Sabres, at the halfway point of their league record 12 season playoff drought. After the trade, the Hurricanes went on to make the playoffs, and have made the playoffs every season since the trade.

Courtesy of Getty Images

In Skinner’s first year in Buffalo, he continued to score efficiently, as he ended the season with 63 points in 82 games. After signing a 7-year extension with the club the following season, Skinner proceeded to record career low numbers, as the Sabres hired Ralph Kreuger as their coach in the 2019-20 season. Following a coaching change in 2021, Skinner returned to his goal scoring form, putting up once again 63 points in the 2021-22 season, and 82 points in the 2022-23 season.

Though Skinner has remained a consistent goal scorer throughout his career, one thing still stands out. Skinner is the first player in NHL History to reach 1,000 career games without ever playing a single playoff game. His time in Carolina was surrounded by a struggling team, and the Sabres have struggled to make the playoffs since 2010-11. They have also surpassed the Hurricanes record for longest playoff drought with a now consecutive 13th season.

Skinner acknowledges that he has yet to play in a playoff game, saying in an interview with the Athletic that “it’s the same thing every year you come in and you’re working with a team to reach a goal. Obviously, there’s disappointment and frustration when you don’t reach that goal. Every year you come in, that's the goal. And that’s just how I look at it.” 

Despite his experience in the playoffs, Skinner continuously shows poise when playing the game of hockey. His time as a top-line player may be coming to an end, but Skinner just takes his journey one day at a time. He has handled changes with a smile his entire career, and hitting 1,000 games is a hard earned victory. Skinner’s time in the playoffs will hopefully come soon but for now, Skinner will have to keep working hard, just as he has.

Courtesy of Timothy T. Ludwig/ USA Today Sports

Edited by: Jessi Dworkin

Social Media Content Created by: Audrey Pearsall

12 views0 comments


bottom of page