Friedman: Oilers want to give Jack Campbell “one more shot” before making a move

Photo credit:Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Cam Lewis
7 months ago
After putting together a stretch of three strong starts in the minors, there was plenty of talk last week that Jack Campbell would soon return to the Edmonton Oilers.
The 31-year-old cleared through waivers back in early November and he’s put together a mixed bag of performances with the Bakersfield Condors since, ultimately posting a 0.893 across three wins and four losses. Most recently, Campbell allowed a weak goal on the first shot he faced on Saturday but wound up stopping 31 of 35 in a win over the Texas Stars.
Elliotte Friedman spoke about Campbell during Monday’s episode of 32 Thoughts, saying that the Oilers want to give the veteran goaltender another chance at the NHL level because of how costly it’ll be to move on and find and upgrade.
“I think the Oilers are committed to this and I do expect to see him.
What do you think it would cost the Oilers to move Campbell right now? If the idea is to buy him out, it’s going to cost $10 million. So the Oilers are looking at a situation where they either have to keep him and buy him out at the end of the year or they have to trade a high pick and/or a good prospect to get it done.
So, I think the Oilers say, ‘we’re stupid if we don’t give this one more run.’ Now, the challenge with them is that they don’t have a huge runway, they don’t have a lot of time to be patient with this. But I believe their choice was ‘we are not doing ourselves enough justice if we don’t give him one more shot.’
That’s what I think they’re going to do. As soon as they figure out the roster, I think that’s what they’re going to do.”
The roster issue that Friedman is talking about in this situation has to do with fitting Campbell under the salary cap ceiling. While in the AHL, he’s a buried contract and the Oilers are able to save $1.15 million on his cap hit, bringing him down to $3.85 million. When they call him up, Campbell goes back to having a $5 million cap hit as normal.
With Campbell in the AHL and Calvin Pickard replacing him with a league-minimum salary, the Oilers have been able to use the salary cap savings to carry a roster that features 13 forwards and seven defencemen. Before that, the Oilers had been so tight to the ceiling that they either had one player or none watching from the pressbox and they even played a game with only 17 skaters.
Regardless, the Oilers appear poised to call Campbell up to give him another shot at the NHL level before they ultimately bite the bullet and pay the price to move on and make an upgrade. We’re all rooting for Campbell to return to form and be the goaltender that the Oilers signed to a five-year, $25 million contract back in the summer of 2022, but the rollercoaster ride of results in the AHL hasn’t been terribly inspiring.

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