COLUMBUS, Ohio - The phrase "you can never have enough depth" is often said by NHL general managers. The Blue Jackets are doing their part and making sure they have plenty of depth in time for the upcoming season.
Jack Skille is the latest to join the mix, signing a one-year, two-way deal with the Blue Jackets today to give the team another solid option for Springfield (AHL) and also a player who has proven his ability to be a dependable guy at the NHL level. Skille has spent the past three seasons with the Florida Panthers, playing 40 of 48 games in 2012-13 and putting up 12 points (three goals, nine assists).
Skille, a native of Madison, Wis., was an impact player for his hometown Badgers in two years with the program after graduating from the United States National Development Team Program (USNTDP) in 2005. He was selected in the first round (seventh overall) by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2005 NHL Draft, and after his collegiate career was over in 2007, he joined the Blackhawks' AHL affiliate to begin his professional hockey life.
He was dealt to the Panthers in 2011 as part of a deal that brought Michael Frolik to Chicago, and seemed to gain some NHL footing in south Florida. Skille has been a regular point producer in the AHL, but hasn't been able to find the same scoring touch in the NHL.
GM Jarmo Kekalainen has said that players will decide their own fate with the Blue Jackets, and Skille will be no different when training camp begins in September. He'll be given a chance to gain a spot in Columbus, and if that doesn't work out, he will be a go-to guy for Brad Larsen in Springfield and be a top call-up option for the Blue Jackets.