Jack Campbell Bides His Time
Photo credit:Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
1 month ago
Anybody paying attention knows that while Jack Campbell began this season as the Edmonton Oilers starter after inking a five-year contract worth $25 million this off-season, local stopper Stuart Skinner has been the No. 1 guy in the paint for about a month.
Right now, it’s a case of coach Jay Woodcroft deciding the best guy gets the crease, and that’s been Skinner without any doubt to this point. Skinner, 24, is 9-6-0 with a 2.81 goals-against average and .919 save percentage in 16 appearances. He stopped 40 of 42 shots in a 5-2 win over Minnesota Friday his last time out.
Campbell, meanwhile, is 7-6-0 with 4.12 GAA and an unflattering save percentage of .892. Campbell hasn’t had the crease since a 5-3 loss to the Wild Dec. 1 when he gave up five goals on the 30 shots he faced in St. Paul, also the site of tonight’s game.
Skinner will get his fifth straight start tonight against the Wild and there’s every possibility it could become six straight if Woodcroft gives him the paint again in the second half of a back-to-back in Nashville Tuesday. Obviously, what happens against the Wild will impact that decision, but Woodcroft didn’t mention a split when he talked to reporters.
WHAT HE SAID
Dec 1, 2022; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Edmonton Oilers goaltender Jack Campbell (36) makes a save during the first period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
“What I know is Jack Campbell has put in a ton of work,” said Woodcroft. “He’s used this little time since his last game as almost a personal re-set. For him, his game, he’s really worked at it, so he’ll get in there soon. When he gets his next opportunity, he’ll be ready for it.
“I think we have two really good goalies that both give us a chance to win. Their records would dictate that. And we’re excited, we think Stuart is gonna help us win the game tonight.”
The Oilers didn’t give Campbell that much term and money to have him sit on the bench as a back-up, but the Oilers are also in the business of winning games. Having Skinner play this well means they haven’t had to force-feed Campbell into starts when his game isn’t where it needs to be. Skinner, for those keeping track, is in the second year of a two-year deal with an AAV of $750,000.
I’m not sure when the “next opportunity” Woodcroft mentioned will come for Campbell, but there are more than a few people who questioned GM Ken Holland committing to a five-year ticket for him after a limited history as a starter who will be waiting to see how that plays out.
JACK CAMPBELL’S SEASON SO FAR