GDB +7.0: Scouting Skinner and Brossoit’s Tendencies (7:30pm MT, CBC)

Photo credit:Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Gregor
1 year ago
Laurent Brossoit has started 101 regular season and playoff games. Stuart Skinner has started 67.
Be sure to check out the latest NHL playoff odds with online sportsbook Betway
Brossoit at age 30 is getting his first chance to be a starter in the playoffs, while Skinner, who turns 25 in November, is in the same boat.
Brossoit has a career .908Sv% and 2.78 GAA, while Skinner possesses a .910Sv% and .2.79 GAA.
Not much separates these goalies statistically or in experience, but what about in style?
Oilers goaltending coach Dustin Schwartz has worked with Brossoit for years. They worked together when Brossoit was in the Oilers organization, and Schwartz kept working with him in the summer after Brossoit moved to Winnipeg. Schwartz knows his style and tendencies very well, and I asked Kevin Woodley from In Goal Magazine, if that can be advantageous for Edmonton.
“There is just a level of familiarity with what guys are comfortable with, what they feel their strengths are, areas that when you had them in your system you felt you had to protect because of exposure. 100% that is an advantage, no questions asked,” said Woodley. “Having that type of firsthand knowledge, it’s the little things. Like, Laurent Brossoit has one of the shortest stick lengths in the league, because he also has some of the longest arms in the league, and he tends to hold his hands kind of low.
“Whether it’s because you know little details like that, or just because you watch film and see that he holds his hands low and recognize that trying to route pucks up high over top of those hands is something from shooting situations you should try to do. I don’t know that you necessarily need the firsthand knowledge in the details, but it can only help.”
The Oilers dominated Jakob Markstrom last season. By the end of the playoffs, they were almost scoring at will. They seemed to figure out Joonas Korpisalo as their round-one series went deeper and scored 16 goals in the final eight and a half periods, after scoring only nine goals through the first 10 periods of the series. I asked Woodley about their scouting of opposing goalies.
“The Oilers staff — and I don’t know how much of it is Dustin Schwartz, I’m assuming it’s largely him, but I saw Jack Han on Twitter mention that they have a video coach (Jeremy Coupal) as well who is a high-level goaltender (played one game in NCAA) who still does some coaching, so maybe he plays a role in this as well. Whatever the reason, whoever is doing it, they seem to have an ability to pick apart and find things in opposing goalie’s games that this team can target. I think some of it is when you’ve got a power-play and players as dynamic and skilled as Draisaitl and McDavid you have the ability to execute a game plan, you have the ability to create space necessary to find the seams.
“Even going back to the Anaheim series (2017) on John Gibson, I remember them scoring some goals from below the goal line behind the net that were 100% based on a pre scout, and watching Anaheim have to adjust specifically how Gibson handled his post play to try and counter it within three games in the series. Same with Korpisalo in the last series, some of the stuff I talked about in terms of getting flat off the rush that they were exploiting was pretty clear, but I didn’t see Korpisalo’s post play as the issue that they made it with all those seam passes below the hash marks or low slot line plays and out from behind the net and around the goal line, making him go east-west down low, and that tendency he has to reach rather than push his whole body across.
“I didn’t have that picked up on the work I did heading into that series, and they picked him apart with that. They are good at finding weaknesses in the opposing goalie, and it certainly helps knowing the little intricacies of Laurent’s game from their time together, but even without it, I don’t think this coaching staff would have had a problem. They seem to do a really good job of picking apart the other guy,” said Woodley.
The Oilers have done a good job of finding the best way to attack opposing goalies. As Woodley stated, it helps having players who have the skill to make the east-west plays, or accurately hit the high glove from certain areas of the ice, but without the scouting tips, the players might not attack how they do.


But pre-scouting works both ways. Vegas lit up one of the best goalies in the NHL in round one. They scored 18 goals in five games on Connor Hellebuyck. I asked Woodley how he thinks Vegas will attack Skinner.
“I’m curious here as well,” said Woodley. “Vegas did a really good job on Hellebuyck, and again this isn’t specific to a goalie. If you create east-west dynamic offense, you’re going to have a better chance of scoring. Skinner is so good in tight, so you need to get him moving. East-west, same side of the ice especially, unless you go get him full back door in-tight. But he’s just so good on those sort of quick little pop passes, using that big frame of his efficiently and effectively, not opening holes and not reaching.
“I thought there were times in that first round where Skinner did get a little outside of that structure and sort of pull himself apart and create some exposure. So, if you’re Vegas you’re trying to do the same thing you did with Hellebuyck, and we talked about this going into the first round. Hellebuyck is the best goalie in the NHL at straight lines, but if you make him go east-west he becomes mortal. As a matter of fact, he becomes below average from a statistical standpoint, and they did that to him. If you’re Vegas, I think you’re trying to do more of the same. I will say though, this season on the whole Edmonton’s been better at defending that than Winnipeg has, so I think that task becomes a little tougher for Vegas. We think of the Oilers as this high-flying team, but they have been pretty good defensively throughout the season, so it won’t be as easy as, maybe Vegas or people that follow that team, expect it to be to create that type of offense.”
Edmonton’s goalies had the third highest expected Sv% on high-danger chances in the regular season according to Clear Sight Analytics. The Kings were second, and the Oilers defeated them. Edmonton has done a good job insulating their goalies, but eventually teams will get some quality chances. Woodley outlined one area on the he believes Vegas will attack from.
“In tight it is tougher to score on Skinner,” said Woodley. “But if you get in the middle of the ice, and this will be key for Edmonton to defend, if Vegas can get into the middle of the ice, when I look at the charting work I did on his goals, there’s so much of it where you would expect it to be in tight, it’s actually more between the hashmarks, like an umbrella between the face off dots, up around the top of the circles. That’s where you put Skinner in a reaction zone, and it appears based on some of the shot totals and where the goals are going in, maybe go after the glove a little bit there. I wouldn’t be surprised if you see Vegas, if they can get to those middle zones, where he is forced to react more, if they try and attack that glove, because that was one of the higher totals (goals against) we saw both in the regular season and tracking in the playoffs.”
Pre-scouting is a huge factor in the playoffs, whether it is how to attack the goalie, enter the zone, defend the rush or on special teams. The Oilers figured out LA’s penalty kill and Korpisalo, while Vegas was able to exploit Hellebuyck and the Jets’ defense in round one.
Which coaching staff will find more weaknesses? Which team’s skaters will be able to execute them more efficiently?
If the answer to both is one team, the series is likely theirs.




Kane – McDavid – Draisaitl
Hyman – RNH – Bjugstad
Foegele – McLeod – Ryan
Kostin – Yamamoto
Nurse – Ceci
Ekholm – Bouchard
Kulak – Desharnais
Evander Kane didn’t take the morning skate, but I expect him to play. Mattias Janmark did skate and is close. If he plays, they could go 12-6 and take out Broberg, or he replaces a forward, but I don’t see one worthy of coming out, unless they are banged up.
Golden Knights…
Barbashev – Eichel – Marchessault
Howden – Stephenson – Stone
Smith – Karlsson – Amadio
Carrier – Roy – Kolesar
Martinez – Pietrangelo
McNabb – Theodore
Hague – Whitecloud
Vegas had an optional skate and none of the aforementioned 12 forwards were on the ice. The bottom-four D-men were. Brayden McNabb was on the ice briefly and then left. McNabb and Shea Theodore didn’t play in game five v. Winnipeg, but both are a go for tonight.
Mark Stone tweaked his back yesterday and walked gingerly and very erectly to the dressing room when he left the ice. Backs can be very finicky, but Vegas head coach said Stone will play. Will his back impact his ability to battle as hard as he usually does?


Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
GAME DAY PREDICTION: One team will end its game one losing streak. Edmonton has lost six in a row, while Vegas has lost five. The Oilers end theirs with a 4-3 victory.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Leon Draisaitl scores his eighth goal of the playoffs and finishes with two points. It gives him 72 career playoff points which moves him into the top-200 of all time.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Warren Foegele scores his first playoff goal in 20 games as a member of the Oilers.

Check out these posts...