Are the Oilers (already) better than last season?

New Oilers' Goalie Jack Campbell Playing With The Toronto Maple Leafs. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
New Oilers' Goalie Jack Campbell Playing With The Toronto Maple Leafs. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Like every team, the Oilers wasn’t perfect in the 2021-22 season. But even with the fragilities on the defense and in goaltending, the team played hockey until June and was just stopped by the Stanley Cup Champions Colorado Avalanche, in a series that the sweep doesn’t tell the full history.

But anyway, the past is the past and the organization has to use it to get even better, and that seems to be what they are doing. We are going to analyze every main position of the team, the goalies, defensemen and forwards.

In this first article, we will begin with the goalie position of the Edmonton Oilers

Between the pipes we already have an (almost) full change, with Mikko Koskinen going to play on the HC Lugano on the Swiss League and Mike Smith probably spending the last year of his contract on the LTIR. With that in mind, the Oilers needed to find completely new players for the position.

And they found it on Jack Campbell. The 30-years-old goalie received a 5 years contract (5M AAV) and promises to bring the stability on the goal the team has been searching for some years. Of course, he isn’t a Vezina candidate, but his career stats of 2.53 GAA and sv% of .916 is already an upgrade from the unpredictability the team faced in the last year(s). In the 2021-22 season, he got 31 wins in 49 games played with the Toronto Maple Leafs. It will be good to finally expect to see someone being undoubtedly the first-choice goalkeeper on the team since Cam Talbot was an Oiler.

Jack Campbell, Future Oilers' First Goalie
Jack Campbell, Future Oilers’ First Goalie. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports /

And the team already showed some support to Campbell, letting him know he will have a good environment both at the locker room and with the city and fans. The 4-time Art Ross Trophy winner and 2-time Hart Memorial winner Connor McDavid said the following:

"(…) “if you can find success as a goalie in the pressure cooker that is Toronto, you can find it anywhere.” “If he can be a starter for Leafs, he can be a starting goalie anywhere” “Obviously this is the hockey hotbed and there’s a tremendous amount of pressure on whoever fills that net.”"

And he wasn’t the only Oiler to talk about the new goalie. Zach Hyman, his former teammate in Toronto, spoke to him before he made the decision about coming to Edmonton:

"“It’s tough. I went through the same sort of decision the year before and everybody thinks it’s so exciting and amazing,” said Hyman. “And it is, but there’s also the element of uncertainty and to going to a new environment, so I just tried to convey my experience as best as possible.”"