Speculation emerges Oilers have lost faith in Jack Campbell

Oct 19, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Edmonton Oilers goaltender Jack Campbell (36) against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 19, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Edmonton Oilers goaltender Jack Campbell (36) against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /

A prominent Edmonton-based reporter writes that the Oilers have already turned the page on any hope Jack Campbell can help them win.

With a 2-7-1 start to the 2023-24 season, there’s plenty of blame to go around for the Oilers. Everyone has contributed to the poor form through the first 10 games, and this includes Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

However, it would seem that one individual in particular is drawing the ire of others within the organisation. At least according to a prominent member of the Edmonton sports media.

Sportsnet reporter Mark Spector suggests the Oilers have already lost faith in goaltender Jack Campbell. He writes:

"“He let in five more Saturday, and after a disastrous season a year ago, Campbell’s solid training camp is long in the rearview mirror. No player has said it specifically, but this reporter senses that these professional players know what they see, and have turned the page on any hopes that Campbell can help an NHL team anymore.”"

Now it should be stressed this is just Spector’s gut feeling. In addition, we’ve mentioned previously how Campbell — along with Stuart Skinner — has been hung out to dry too many times already this season by the players in front of him.

Disappointment in Edmonton

However, it’s also tough to get around the reality the 31-year-old has done little during his time in Edmonton, to inspire confidence. Taking away his first year in the NHL when he only appeared in one game, last season he set career-worsts with a .888 save percentage and 3.41 Goals Against Average (GAA).

Even arguing that Campbell had a strong 21-9-4 record between the pipes only goes so far. You’re always in with an excellent chance of winning, when you play for the highest-scoring team in the league.

While it’s still early in the 2023-24 campaign, the 2010 11th overall draft pick is projected to be even worse. At the time of posting, he has a 1-4-0 record in five starts, with a .873 save percentage and 4.50 GAA.

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These poor statistics were ‘boosted’ against the Predators on Saturday afternoon. Campbell let in five goals on 34 shots and was crucially at fault on two of the scores.

It was genuinely believed the former Toronto Maple Leaf was going to be better this campaign. He performed well in four relief performances during last season’s playoffs and looked excellent during this preseason, with a .962 save percentage and 0.92 GAA in three games.

We appreciate there will be those who argue Skinner hasn’t been much better. After a season where he finished runner up for the Calder Trophy, he has a 1-3-1 record, .861 save percentage (fourth-worst in the NHL) and 3.62 GAA so far in 2023-24.

What can the Oilers do?

However, the young goaltender is not on a big contract like his teammate. Campbell is in just the second season of a five-year, $25 million deal, which is already seemingly hanging around the Oilers’ neck as an albatross which is becoming heavier with every passing day.

If the Oilers do indeed decide it’s time to move on from the 2022 All-Star, finding a trade partner could well be a struggle. While he has the talent, he’s just not been consistent enough during his time in the NHL.

Combine this with Campbell’s age and contract, and moving him would likely be a challenge. Another possibility could be to consider a buyout.

As per CapFriendly, buying out the Port Huron, Michigan native would result in an average cap hit of $1.5 million over the next six seasons. However, this would include specific cap hits of $2.3 million and $2.6 million in 2025-26 and 2026-27 respectively.

Next. 10 numbers to sum up Oilers' first 10 games. dark

Ultimately, we have to again remind ourselves any displeasure with Campbell is on the basis of speculation, combined with the reality pretty much everyone within the organisation has disappointed this far. It’s possible the Oilers may well wish to eventually move on from the veteran goalie, but it’s too soon to be going down this road just yet.