Skinner began his road to the NHL playing for the storied Trail Smoke Eaters of the BCHL for the 2000-01 season. After only his rookie season, he was named to the BCHL’s second all-star team, as well as being named Trail’s top defenseman for the year.
2001-02: Skinner played for the Des Moines Buccaneers of the United States Hockey League. During that year, Brett was named the 2001-02 USHL Defenseman of the Year, as well as being named to the USHL all-star team. He was selected in the third round (68th overall) of the 2002 entry draft by the Vancouver Canucks in the offseason.
2002-03: Skinner went the college route, and began his freshman year with the University of Denver Pioneers. He scored 17 points to lead all other freshmen on his team.
2003-04: He had career highs in goals and assists, good for fourth in scoring on his team.
2004-05: He finished his junior campaign third in the nation among defensemen in scoring with 40 points, and led all the nation’s defensemen with 36 assists. He was third in the nation among defensemen with .93 points per game. Skinner earned numerous awards and honors including a spot on the NCAA Frozen Four All-Tournament and All-America West Second Teams.
Skinner opted to leave Denver U after his junior year.
2005-06: Skinner fell out of favor with the Canucks and was acquired by Anaheim in the deadline deal that saw defensive stalwart Keith Carney depart for British Columbia. Skinner was also selected to represent Canada in the Spengler Cup. As a rookie pro, he played for the Manitoba Moose (AHL), the Canucks farm team.
2006-07: Skinner found himself as the odd man out on the Portland Pirates’ blue line and was sent to the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights in an AHL deal in February. He also played a brief five game stretch with the Augusta Lynx (ECHL)
Traded to the Boston Bruins in September 2007
Skinner is an offensive defenseman who is blessed with impeccable passing and playmaking abilities. A smooth skater who transitions well, he has no trouble jumping up into plays or leading the offensive rush. Skinner is a smart player who sees the ice well, and one of his greatest strengths is his ability to use his teammates to create plays. He is effective in quarterbacking the power play and is equally adept at killing penalties. He has a good, accurate shot and shoots as often as the opportunity presents itself. Skinner possesses a great work ethic and is the consummate team player.