Goaltending tandem for the playoffs

Who backs up 'Stache man for the playoffs?
Vegas Golden Knights v Edmonton Oilers
Vegas Golden Knights v Edmonton Oilers / Leila Devlin/GettyImages
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Jack Campbell
Edmonton Oilers v Minnesota Wild / David Berding/GettyImages

Jack Campbell - waiting in the wings

Jack Campbell was absolutely struggling earlier in the season and even after his initial demotion to Bakersfield, however, his game has picked up over the last couple of months. He and prospect Olivier Rodrigue have almost split evenly the remaining games since Pickard was recalled to take Campbell's spot in the lineup, with Rodrigue getting 35 games and Campbell getting 31. Both players have done very well for themselves so far, but Campbell holds the edge in stats with an elite .920 SV% and a 2.58 GAA - which actually places him 18th in the AHL in GAA and a tie for sixth in the league in SV%. This is a man who has redeemed himself and deserves to come back up - he likely would've been already if not for the fact that the Oilers are doing fine without him also there's the matter of Pickard's performance, prompting GM Ken Holland not to mess with what by and large is a winning team.

More importantly, unlike Pickard, he actually has some playoff experience to his name. Campbell up to now has in fact played 18 NHL playoff games, two seasons for the Leafs and one for the Oilers. He was absolutely elite for the Leafs in one series and put in a dismal performance in the other, but redeemed himself as in limited time he put up a lofty .961 SV% and a stingy 1.01 GAA in last season's playoffs for the Oilers. Personally, I'd rather have that in my playoff lineup than Pickard, who we'll never know how he can handle the extra pressure and scrutiny of the playoffs, where the coach is also forced to give the players a lot less rope because the stakes are higher and there's a lot less margin for error. Now you know why Ken Holland likes his veterans so much - come playoff time they know how to play and what would be expected from them.

What about the cap space? I can see where the cap space issue would come from, but right now depending on when it's done we still have the cap space to absorb Campbell onto the roster without going over the cap. In fact, at the time of this writing the Oilers actually have accumulated just over $4.8 million of cap space per CapFriendly, and just for argument's sake, let's say they call up Campbell and predictably because no one wants to start over from scratch adding a $5 million cap hit to their roster and have to pay him that for three more seasons, he clears waivers and comes up as expected, for let's say game 81 of the season, which would be against Arizona on the 17th, a good game to let him get his NHL legs back. For those two games of the season, we would simply pro-rate his contract at a rate of $60,975.61 per game. Multiply that by two games and you get $121,951.22. That's a drop in the bucket, not even 10% of remaining cap space, so we don't have to worry about that at least for the playoffs - especially considering there is no cap in the playoffs, so once those two games are done you're home free and don't have to worry about it until after the season is done.

What the Oilers do with Jack Campbell after the playoffs are done is another question altogether, but honestly, in the short term, he's a better option to back up Skinner than Pickard is, because he's been there and knows what to expect, unlike Pickard. Pickard is a fine option for the taxi squad in the playoffs but not as a roster regular.

Campbell is my choice for backup goalie for the playoffs.