Jack Campbell will start Oilers’ season opener against Canucks
Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
By Cam Lewis1 month ago
Welcome to the Jack Campbell Revenge Tour.
According to Bob Stauffer, Campbell was the first goalie off the ice for the Oilers, meaning he’ll be the starter when the team takes the ice for their 2023-24 season opener against the Vancouver Canucks.
Campbell was Edmonton’s opening-night starting goaltender last season and stopped 33 of 36 shots on the way to a 5-3 win for the Oilers. The rest of the season didn’t go as planned for Campbell as he posted an .888 save percentage across 36 games in the first year of a five-year, $25 million contract.
During the pre-season, Campbell looked much more like the goalie that the Oilers signed to a long-term deal than the one they saw last year. The 31-year-old suited up for three games and posted a sparkling .971 save percentage and a 0.99 goals-against average. He said that some adjustments he made over the off-season have resulted in him feeling more comfortable between the pipes.
“[I feel] significantly more comfortable,” Campbell said after Edmonton’s final pre-season game last week. “I think I made a lot of great changes this summer. I’ve been kind of in need of change over the years, and it was just time and I’m just feeling really good and really happy to be back here taking the ice with the guys.“The big thing I’d say is I’m making the [saves] I should make. When I’m just out there playing and having fun, my track record is to not give up the ones I should have and then make some of the ones I shouldn’t, the no chance type plays, but I just feel really grounded out there and I’m just trying to control the game and control the rebounds.“The guys in front of me are doing a great job, and obviously, it’s a skilled game out there. Sometimes, you’ve got to go outside the box and just compete, so I’m fortunate to make a couple of those, too.”
Campbell starting the team’s first game doesn’t mean he’s going to play more games than Stuart Skinner this season. The plan is for the Oilers to have their two goaltenders split the net while leaning into whoever has the hot hand at a given time. Having both Campbell and Skinner playing effectively is critical to the Oilers finishing with the best record in the Western Conference and home-ice advantage through the first three rounds of the playoffs.
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