This week the Eastern Edge takes a look at Jeff Skinner's bounce back season.


Heading into last night's slate of games, Carolina's Jeff Skinner had five goals and six points over his last three matches. He has played three-quarters of his even-strength shifts over those three games with Tuomo Ruutu and Eric Staal. During that period, Ruutu has exactly one point, while Staal has four. Staal's consistency over his last dozen games has been remarkable, recording 14 points and going pointless in only one contest.


The 21-year-old Skinner is in his fourth NHL season.  He broke onto the NHL scene with a 31 goal, 63 point rookie campaign. He suffered a concussion during his sophomore season that saw him finish with 20 goals and 44 points in 64 games. Then came last year's lockout shortened season where he scored 13 goals and 24 points in 42 games.


Since the excellent debut, his games played, goals and points totals have all been trending downwards, no matter how you slice it. In 19 games this season, the former Calder Trophy winner has 17 points, seven of them with the man advantage. He is receiving the third most average power play time on ice on the team. With his recent push, Skinner is on pace for 71 games, 34 goals and 64 points and is (fantasy-)worthy of our trust once again.

Tomas Tatar has seven points in his last six games for the Red Wings. He has spent the majority of his even-strength ice time with Joakim Andersson and Andrew Miller, but has been receiving more time with the likes of Johan Franzen and Gustav Nyquist.


Nyquist has drawn much of the fantasy world's interest with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg out for various stints. This is borne out by Nyquist being owned in more than twice as many Yahoo! leagues than Tatar (13 per cent to six per cent), yet Tatar has outscored Nyquist seven to five over their last six contests. That said, Nyquist is still the superior play by virtue of better line-mates and top unit power play opportunities versus Tatar's second unit duties.


Daniel Alfredsson has really stepped up by recording nine points over his last seven games. The Wings have five wins and only two losses during that stretch. The soon to be 84-year-old Swede chalks it up to good genes, only playing limited minutes on a line with Stephen Weiss and a desire to stick it to Eugene Melnyk win the Stanley Cup.


Only one word describes Weiss' season to date, heavy. Heavy as in an anchor that drags you down to the bottom of your pool standings. In his last nine games, Weiss has exactly one point and over his last 19 games, he has a grand total of two points. Two!?


Over Weiss' last three matches, he has lined up beside Daniel Alfredsson and Justin Abdelkader for 54.35 per cent of his even-strength shifts and with Johan Franzen and Gustav Nyquist 31.16 per cent.  


I thought last year's four points in 17 games with Florida was an anomaly and stemmed largely from injuries, but after witnessing several Detroit games this season, his play should be declared a state of emergency. He has four points in 25 games this year, but due to a hefty five year, $24.5 million dollar contract signed only six months ago, the Wings will have little choice but to play the 30-year-old and hope that he turns his game around. Not counting last year, Weiss averaged 57 points over each of his previous four seasons.


Back-up goaltender Jonas Gustavsson has been on quite the run of late, recording five wins against only one loss in his last six starts. Over those games, his goals-against average is a gaudy 1.67 and a sweet 0.932 save percentage.


Conversely, number one, Jimmy Howard has not played so well over his last 10 outings, with a 2-4-4 record along with an un-Jimmy-like 2.93 goals-against average and 0.901 save percentage. That pales in comparison to his numbers over the last two seasons:























Last April, the Wings inked Howard to a six year deal, so you know that he'll keep getting the call until he rounds back into form.

Recently from Eastern Edge:

Patches and a Pair of Blue Jackets 
Surviving The Stamkos Injury 
The Defense Rests....Not 
Opportunity Knocks For Kreider 


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