FILE - This March 24, 2012 file photo shows Carolina Hurricanes' Jeff Skinner skating to congratulate a teammate on his goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Detroit Red Wings in Detroit. The Hurricanes have signed Skinner to a six-year contract extension that will keep him with the team through 2018-19. The team announced the deal Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)
RALEIGH, N.C. - The Carolina Hurricanes maintained their aggressive off-season deals by awarding a long-term contract to forward Jeff Skinner.
Skinner signed a six-year contract extension worth more than $34 million that will keep him with the Hurricanes through the 2018-19 season, the team said Wednesday.
The winner of the Calder Trophy in 2011 as the NHL's rookie of the year will make $4.35 million in 2013-14 and $6 million in each of the following five seasons. His entry contract, which pays him $900,000 per year, was to expire after this coming season.
"I'm very grateful for them to select me in the draft, and obviously today, showing me the confidence to have me around long term," Skinner said. "It's definitely a nice message ... and hopefully, I can prove them right."
The 20-year-old Skinner has 51 goals and 56 assists in his short career, which began when Carolina took him in the first round of the 2010 draft. He made the team out of camp that season and was selected to the All-Star team as a rookie before becoming the franchise's first Calder Trophy winner.
Last year, he had 20 goals and 44 assists despite missing 16 games with a concussion.
"Jeff is a cornerstone player for our team, and his long-term commitment to the Hurricanes is great news for our franchise and our fans," general manager Jim Rutherford said. "At 20 years old, he is still in the very early stages of his career, and we felt it was important to ensure he would be spending much more of it in Raleigh."
His signing marks the latest bold move of the summer for a Hurricanes team that already has stars Eric Staal and Cam Ward locked in to long-term deals.
They picked up forward Jordan Staal in a draft-day trade with Pittsburgh and signed him to a 10-year, $60 million extension. They signed enigmatic free-agent forward Alexander Semin to a one-year deal worth $7 million. And they awarded defenceman Jay Harrison a three-year contract extension that will keep him with Carolina through 2015-16.
"There's been a lot of big moves from our organization this summer, and I think it's exciting," Skinner said. "Hopefully, it's a sign that we can step up next season."