Seravalli: Jack Campbell’s return to Edmonton isn’t far away

Photo credit:James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Liam Horrobin
6 months ago
The Edmonton Oilers hit an extreme low the night they lost 3-1 on the road to the San Jose Sharks. It was supposed to be a game that saw them score goals and prevent the Sharks from doing the same. However, it resulted in their $5 million goaltender hitting the waiver wire the next day despite not playing in the game.
Jack Campbell went to the Bakersfield Condors for his first demotion to the American Hockey League since 2019. It was a brief stay with the Ontario Reign, playing in 31 games for the Los Angeles Kings that same season, finishing with a 0.928 save percentage, a 2.30 goals against average and two shutouts. Ken Holland and his staff hope that this visit to the AHL rejuvenates Campbell and brings him back to form as the Oilers continue their push for playoff glory.
Undoubtedly, things haven’t gone in a straight line for Campbell. In his first three games, the veteran netminder had a save percentage under o.830 and was a big reason why the Condors were losing games. However, after a 30-save shutout versus the Henderson Silver Knights on November 21st, things have turned around for Campbell. Since then, he hasn’t looked back, finishing his next two games with a 0.917 and a 0.929.
“The Oilers’ upcoming five-day layoff is tied in nicely with Jack Campbell,” said Frank Seravalli on Oilersnation Everyday. “Campbell has actually been good in his last three games with a 2-1-0 record, a 1.97 goals against and a 0.944 save percentage. The Oilers are now waiting to see if he can put together another good performance on Saturday night for the Condors and then make a decision.”
“They initially told him when they sent him down that on December 1st, they would make a judgment call,” continued Frank Seravalli on Campbell’s return. “If they bring up Campbell, they will have to lose a forward. It would be either Adam Erne or Sam Gagner because he created $1.1 million in cap space when he went down.”
In Campbell’s absence, Skinner has done a decent job. He hasn’t been perfect, but he’s been good enough to win seven of his last nine games. Skinner has a .890 save percentage, which doesn’t paint the full picture of his performances. Unfortunately,  a poor outing from everyone against the Carolina Hurricanes led to a first-period yanking for him, along with a 0.667 save percentage.
The eye test has checked out for him, though. Fans need to see significant gaffs like the one versus the Winnipeg Jets earlier in the year or an easy one against Matt Duchene scored in the Dallas game. For the most part, teams have to score legit goals on him. Perhaps that is part of the team playing better defence in front of him, but the team still needs Skinner to make that last big save, too.
The team defence would undoubtedly help Campbell, too, and a couple of weaker opponents are coming up in the schedule. After the break, the Oilers have a six-game home stand with one game that sticks out as a chance for Campbell.
On December 12th, the Chicago Blackhawks are in town. Of course, they will now be without Corey Perry and Taylor Hall. Without those two, the offence resolves around rookie sensation Connor Bedard but drops off significantly afterwards. Could this be where the Oilers slot Campbell in?
“You have to find out what he is,” said Frank Seravalli. “If he’s not good, then they’re going to have to find a way to make a move and get rid of his contract. They’re not going to be able to do anything else. They won’t be able to get a new goal and carry Campbell’s dead cap. Furthermore, if you don’t move on, they will be stuck in more cap issues regarding making other upgrades on the team. It’s important to get a read on Campbell over the next six weeks.”
The most significant part of all of this isn’t about Campbell at all. It’s about the Edmonton Oilers chasing down a playoff spot. The terrible start to the season only gives them a little breathing room to provide Campbell with a few games to find his feet again in the league. Realistically, he has one opportunity to prove himself again. There’s no time to wait around anymore because team success is the only thing that matters.

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