Building the Herd – Dean Skinns

#30 Dean Skinns

Position: Goaltender

Born: Basingstoke, Hampshire

Announced as signed: Bison “Meet and Greet” event 25th May

After the Bison meet and greet on 25th May gave us 7 signing announcements, we’re going to be working through these signings a day at a time. We’ll start with the netminders and the announcement that Bison coach Steve Moria has announced the return to the Herd of local boy Dean Skinns to guard the Bison net.

Skinns dressed for all 54 games of the season appearing in 35 contests for the Bison finishing the season with a .900 save percentage and 3.24 goals against average. He faced 1147 shots and gave up 115 goals, an average of 32.32 shots per game. The home town boy started with the Bison in the British National League in 2001-02 playing BNL and in the EIHL before leaving at the end of the 2004-05 season to play for Bracknell, Slough and Guildford. In his time at Slough under Steve Moria, Skinns won the EPL title in 2009 and won the 2010 EPL Cup with the Guildford Flames.

Dean coming back wasn’t a massive surprise if I am honest. A local netminder who Moria is very keen on and likely won’t be costing the Bison a massive amount seems logical in terms of signings.

I knew some people got frustrated at times watching Skinns last season; the main thing people complained about was he had a habit sometimes of ducking shots that were going up high on him. Block C where I sit is a good place to watch a Bison netminder as they defend the goal at the end away from the bar twice and you get a really good angle to watch what our netminder does and yes, Skinns (who at 5’6” and 56kg is the 2nd shortest and lightest player in the EPL according to Elite Prospects) at times seemed to duck on a shot. At times as well it almost seemed like he needed to let an early shot in to get into the game. I don’t have the stats but it would be interesting to see how many games the Bison went 1-0 down in.

That said (because I know at least one person in block C who would have kicked me for not mentioning the above) Skinns does have his upsides. We saw during games that when he got in “the zone”, Skinns was dynamic and looked like he can stop anything that came his way. He would let up very few juicy rebounds and when he did his rebound control was superb and would divert the puck well away from his net. It’s like there’s a switch in the back of his head that clicked on and he suddenly went into overdrive and kept the team in games they had no right to be in.

Also interesting to hear was Moria when he mentioned the re-signing. Skinns was the starter when the season began but took the job by force from Tom Annetts and Skinns play deserved that. However Moria admitted that he’d overplayed Skinns towards the back end of the campaign and that Skinns had been playing with injuries.

I suppose looking back it’s a tough spot to be in. Players play hurt a lot, it’s part and parcel of hockey but when you feel you have to put the hurt guy in goal because you don’t feel the backup can do the job it somewhat limits what the team can do. That doesn’t explain everything but it does explain a lot.

Skinns will have better support backing him up for the upcoming campaign (more on those two as the week goes on) and that can only be a good thing for the side.

All that’s left to say is welcome back Dean; the starting job is yours, make the most of it.

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