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Monday Mailbag – Is the Oilers goaltending tandem good enough?

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Photo credit:Tom Kostiuk
baggedmilk
1 month ago
Happy Monday, Internet friends, and welcome to a brand new edition of the Mailbag to help get your week started and break down all things Edmonton Oilers. This week we’re looking at our goaltending tandem, overvaluing our own players, the trade deadline, and a whole lot more. If you’ve got a question you’d like to ask, email it to me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk and I’ll get to you as soon as we can.
Feb 17, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers goaltender Jack Campbell (36) makes a save on a shot by New York Rangers forward Filip Chytil (72) during the second period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

1) David O. asks – Very simple question; when we look at GSAE/60, for goalies with min 15 games played, Skinner ranks 35th and Campbell 58th (BM Note: Question submitted on Thursday). Things have ticked up a bit recently but these are still indicative that the Oiler goalie tandem not only isn’t elite, it’s not even average. The fact that both aren’t doing well, and the Oilers not having a very robust defensive system feels like a recipe for an early playoff exit. Are these goalies good enough to get us to a Stanley Cup?

Jason Gregor:
I’m leery to use one stat and declare a player great, good, or bad based off of it. Campbell was awful for the first three months, so his stats will be skewed all season. But how he played then won’t impact what happens in the playoffs. How he and Skinner are playing in March and April will matter more. The Oilers don’t have an elite goalie but neither does Vegas, Seattle, LA or Calgary. The Oilers goalies give them a realistic shot to get out of the Pacific. After that, they’d have a goalie disadvantage against Dallas (Oettinger) or Winnipeg (Hellebuyck). Colorado has Georgiev, but he’s not as proven yet, but having a very good season.
And if the Oilers add to their blueline before the trade deadline, that should help the Oilers’ goaltending. Edmonton’s biggest strength is offence, and if they are going to go deep they will need their depth scorers to continue producing. I don’t expect the Oilers to rely on their goalies in most games, but they have the ability to steal a game here or there.
Robin Brownlee:
I don’t disagree with you that Campbell and Skinner aren’t elite, but I do consider them average. There are too many games when I see Edmonton’s goaltending as mediocre. I don’t care what metric you use. I’m not confident the goaltending Skinner and Campbell have provided to this point is good enough behind a defensive group that is less-than-stellar. Awful? No. But they aren’t consistent enough to garner a lot of faith.
Liam Horrobin:
I think looking at goalie stats as a whole can be irrelevant sometimes. Jack Campbell had a brutal start to the season but has been very good as of late. However, his 0.888 save percentage would indicate he has been terrible all season. Then, when you just look at January he has a 0.913 save percentage. My point is, I think these goaltenders are good enough to win the Stanley Cup but I do think they need to find a good rhythm in their game before the playoffs begin.
Baggedmilk:
At their best, I think they can be good enough. Right now? We’ll see.
Jan 7, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Colorado Avalanche defensemen Cale Makar (8) celebrates his game winning goal during overtime against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

2) James in Peterborough asks – With the Oilers playing very well in 2023, the playoffs would once again seem to be in the cards. In order, what three Western Conference rivals are the biggest obstacles to a Stanley Cup Finals berth?

Jason Gregor:
In order, it would have to be two teams in the Pacific, as that is who they are most likely to face in the first two rounds. So I’d say Vegas and LA. Colorado, when healthy is still the team to beat, but will they be healthy in the playoffs?
Robin Brownlee:
Vegas and Los Angeles out of the Pacific and Colorado will have a say in the Central as they get rolling down the stretch.
Liam Horrobin:
The Vegas Golden Knights, Seattle Kraken, and LA Kings are the three biggest obstacles. The Oilers will likely have to beat two of those teams to even make the Western Conference Finals. So, not to get too far ahead of the game, the team should be focused on the early rounds before the final dance.
Baggedmilk:
The entire Pacific Division tbh, but Vegas, LA, and Seattle are the easy answer here.
Feb 17, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Kailer Yamamoto (56) and New York Rangers defensemen Adam Fox (23) follow a loose puck during the third period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

3) @CalORidden asks – Why do people Over value Yamamoto so much, especially when compared to Foegele or Puljujarvi? They’re all very similar levels of play imo.

Jason Gregor:
Who has overvalued him? I haven’t seen anyone write articles saying he is great. I keep hearing this supposed overvaluing of him, but who is doing it? The fact is Foegele has been the best of the three this season. When all three are playing well, Yamamoto has the best offensive ability. But he is injury prone due to his size and how he plays. I don’t expect he will be here past his current contract, and possibly moved out earlier.
Robin Brownlee:
Who is over-valuing Yamamoto? He’s got to get healthy and get going if he intends on making himself a fixture on the right side. Who is saying anything different? Yamamoto has been injured. Puljujarvi has been lousy. Big difference.
Liam Horrobin:
The difference for me is that when Kailer Yamamoto isn’t scoring a goal at least he is contributing in other ways. I think Puljuarvi does this too but in a more discrete manner. He isn’t running around hitting everything that moves like Yamo is. I do agree though, maybe as a fan base we do over-hype Yamo but that’s because he is more noticeable on the ice.
Baggedmilk:
I think he could be the greatest hockey player in the history of time, space, and sports. He could be the greatest athlete ever and the most handsome too.
Jan 13, 2023; San Jose, California, USA; San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (65) during the third period against the Edmonton Oilers at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

4) Clay asks – The city is on fire with Erik Karlsson rumours right now and it’s understandable given how good he is, but if you were to guess, what is the likelihood in terms of a percentage that he will be an Oiler by the deadline or even before the start of next season?

Jason Gregor:
The odds aren’t great, as it would be a significant trade and San Jose needs to retain 40%. I’d say there is a 15% chance.
Robin Brownlee:
It was on fire — more wishful thinking by fans than rumours based on anything substantial — a week ago, but not so much now. I don’t see Karlsson as a need as much as a want, especially with all the financial/cap gymnastics getting him would take. I don’t think he’s coming here. I’d rate the chances of that happening at 10 per cent.
Liam Horrobin:
I think before the deadline the percentage is around 5%. The Oilers have supposedly made a bid so I don’t want to rule out the idea completely; however, they have limited time to do it before the deadline. In the summer, I will give it 50%. If they’re interested now why wouldn’t they be interested again in the summer? Ken Holland then has more flexibility with money and time to figure out how to make it work.
Baggedmilk:
1000%. It’s happening.*
*it’s 95% likely to not happen. 

5) @GoonIt15 asks – What do you think would provoke more outrage in Oilers fans, Ken Holland not doing anything at the trade deadline or KH massively overpaying instead?

Jason Gregor:
Doing nothing should cause the most outrage. He has to do something. I expect he will, but if he doesn’t Oilersnation has every right to be upset.
Robin Brownlee:
Close call. There’s usually moaning, groaning and caterwauling in this town no matter what. Slight edge to doing nothing. That’s not going to fly and it shouldn’t.
Liam Horrobin:
Both! I think sometimes Ken Holland can’t do anything right for some people. In an overall view, though, if he sits on his hands then I think everyone will be very upset. This team is good but they need help. Uncle Ken needs to do something. With that said, if he doesn’t get a big name but instead adds other strong pieces then that is a good move too.
Baggedmilk:
If Ken Holland doesn’t do anything significant, I think our website may melt down. 😂

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