Playing on a hockey club that is struggling can be difficult and the Trail Smoke Eaters are currently in last place.The Smokies only have one rear guard over 18 years old. Despite this Brett Skinner is having a good year. Skinner plays heads up hockey. He’s not a speedster but but he has a smooth stride and skates well. Not a overly physical defenseman Skinner uses other skills to showcase his game. At 6-1 170 pounds, Skinner has room to fill out and the hitting will increase with maturity. This first year player has his head up and makes alot of smart passes, short ones, a touch of the puck at the last moment springing a teammate free. Skinner seems to be able to find the guy on his club who is skating with a short solid pass not someone who is standing still. These type of passes are important in getting the biscuit out of your own end of the ice. This 17-year-old from Brandon, Manitoba had plenty of ice time including the power play. Currently,Skinner is third on the Smokies in points with 8G 23A in 54 games. Add in 37 penalty minutes and you have pretty impressive numbers for a 17-year-old, first year player in any junior league. This defenseman is smart, a player with good vision and good skills. If the Smokies can keep this player and the rest of this young group of d-men together they could make some noise in the future.Honorable mention to both goalies on this club, especially Isaac Reichmuth who played a good game in a 4-0 loss Feb. 16th against the Prince George Spruce Kings.