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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But he wasn’t the only new goalie in town. The Oilers also brought Calvin Pickard. This other 30-years-old goalie is supposed to alternate between the AHL and the backup goalie position. Pickard only played 3 NHL games last season, and his last NHL game was on March 27th, when he played only 22 minutes before allowing 4 goals and being replaced.

Calvin Pickard In Action With His Former Team
Calvin Pickard In Action With His Former Team (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

And Pickard is expected to alternate between NHL and AHL because the one goalie that can have an excellent season as a backup is Stuart Skinner. The hometown boy will be 24 years old in the 2022-23 season, and even with only 14 career games in the NHL, he already proved that can be worth to take him from the Bakersfield Condors and receive the responsibility of being always ready to replace Campbell anytime the team needs, in the full season. As written by Rob Couch from The Hockey Writers:

"Since Skinner is graduating to the NHL and Ilya Konovalov returned to the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) after his time in North America didn’t go as planned, the Oilers were left with just Oliver Rodrigue, a former second-round pick. That was until the team signed Calvin Pickard as the third goalie in the system who can jump between the AHL and NHL if needed and top college free agent Ryan Fanti."

Oil On Whyte
Oil On Whyte /

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In the AHL with the Condors, he had an excellent .914 sv% in 2020-21 and ever a better .920 sv% in 2021-22. Going to his “big league” numbers, Skinner has 2.80 GAA and .909 sv% on his 14 games in the NHL, and his last NHL game was a Shoot-Out (Feb. 14 @SJS. 20 SA) We just expect him to fulfill the expectation, that he can show his talent, evolve even more and be trustworthy for the coach Jay Woodcroft. As every second spent on the main team will for sure bring positive results for Skinner, and he is fully aware of this opportunity.

Stuart Skinner and Evan Bouchard
Stuart Skinner and Evan Bouchard. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports /

"“Rome wasn’t built in a day, it takes a lot of time,” Skinner said. “When I was 18 and I got drafted, I was on top of the world. Then it kind of hits you that the real work begins.”"

In the same opportunity, Skinner kept saying the advantages of being granted this opportunity and how he looks to evolve more each day:

"“Just growing and going through everything you go through in order to get to the NHL, you’re so grateful. You’re a little bit like a kid again,” Skinner said about playing for the team he grew up cheering for. “It’s like ‘wow this is actually happening’. It’s so cool and just being able to be on the Oilers, wearing that logo, being around the players in that locker room is incredible.”"