It is kind of fitting that Jack Skille is on the move again this week. I say that because the Blackhawks are hosting their prospect camp this week, and as a former first-round pick it shows that there is no sure thing.
Skille was the Hawks first round pick, seventh overall, in the 2005 draft. For his career he has 20 goals and 29 assists in 178 NHL games. 79 of those games came during his time in Chicago. The other 99 games came over the last three seasons with the Florida Panthers.
He was traded to Florida during the 2010-2011 season in exchange for Michael Frolik, who was recently shipped off to Winnipeg for a pair of draft picks. It was thought Skille might benefit from a change of scenery and having the man who drafted him, Dale Tallon, running the show.
The hope for the Hawks was that Skille would come up and replace Kris Versteeg after the 2010 cap purge. Unfortunately for him things just never clicked. He always seem to play like he was a top 6 forward while he was being asked to play a bottom 6 role.
Skille's deal with Columbus is a one-year, two-way contract, which means there is no guarantee he plays in Columbus next season. If he isn't good enough to make the team he might find himself once again playing in the AHL.
It will be interesting to see if maybe now, with his back against the wall and no real expectations, if Skille can finally put it together. Hopefully for Skille the third times a charm, if not he might be facing a real crossroads in his career. Hard to imagine we are saying that about someone who just turned 26 but that is life in the NHL.
Best of luck to Skille. Maybe he will get a real shot with Nathan Norton expected to be out of the lineup for the first few months of the season. It will be interesting to watch.