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Monday Mailbag – Should Stuart Skinner have a better chance at the Calder Trophy?

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Photo credit:Tom Kostiuk
baggedmilk
1 year ago
Happy Monday, Internet, and welcome to another fresh edition of the Mailbag to help get your week started and break down all things Edmonton Oilers. This week we’re looking at round one against the Kings, Stanley Cup predictions, Stu for Calder, 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.
Apr 4, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Linesman Bevan Mills (53) separates players after a scuffle in the first period between the Los Angeles Kings and the Edmonton Oilers at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
1) Oilers fan in Van asks – We’re getting the Kings in round one for the second year in a row. What’s the biggest key for the Oilers to winning this series and making sure we get the same result we got a year ago?
Robin Brownlee:
The Oilers allowed four goals twice and five goals once in the 2022 series. I don’t expect we’ll see that this time. The Oilers will be better defensively, just as they were in the stretch drive.
Jason Gregor:
Continue their strong defensive play. Make the Kings work for their goals. No gift goals like the first half of the season. EDM has a much better offence, and they will score so sound defense will secure a series win.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
Keep your power play hot and don’t shoot yourself in the foot. In last year’s series, the Oilers’ powerplay was scoring on 36.8% of their chances. That’s a huge difference. If their powerplay can stay hot, it gives them a significant advantage over this Kings team, who are not very good when it comes to special teams. The second part of my answer revolves around bad turnovers and defensive breakdowns. This Kings team is going to struggle to score so if you don’t gift them goals and chances, the Oilers should be fine.
Liam Horrobin:
Similar to last year, the power play is going to play a huge factor. The Kings’ penalty kill was tough on Edmonton this season, but last year, the Oilers’ power play clicked at 37% in the playoffs. At 5-on-5, it will be a tight hockey game, which we have seen the last two times they have faced each other. When the Oilers get those power play advantages they need to capitalize.
Baggedmilk:
Keep doing what you’re doing. Be patient, don’t force plays, limit the turnovers, and keep firing from everywhere. The Oilers can do this if they play like the Edmonton Oilers.
Apr 4, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Edmonton Oilers left wing Zach Hyman (18) celebrates after center Leon Draisaitl (29) scored a goal past Los Angeles Kings goaltender Pheonix Copley (29) in the third period at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
2) James in Peterborough asks – Oilers fans are hoping for a deep playoff run this spring – depth will matter to do so. Which player(s), outside the Top 6 forwards and Top 4 defencemen, do you see stepping up and potentially having a great playoff run?
Robin Brownlee:
Great playoff run? Not sure there will be one from the group of players you mention. I’d like to think we’ll see more of the same from Foegele, Kostin, Janmark, McLeod and Ryan up front and Kulak on the blue line.
Jason Gregor:
Foegele and McLeod offensively and I think Brett Kulak will have another strong playoff like last year.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
I really like Warren Foegele as my answer here. He’s been bringing it in terms of physicality and gets a lot of good scoring chances. He’ll start converting on some breakaways and he’ll score some big goals. Brett Kulak giving them good third-pairing minutes would be important too.
Liam Horrobin:
On Friday’s Oilersnation Radio, I said Kailer Yamamoto. However, I would like to officially change my answer to Mattias Janmark (thanks for the idea Rick). He just seems like the guy who could catch fire. He gets a lot of chances and I could see a shorthanded goal in his future.
Baggedmilk:
Ryan McLeod can do it. He’s got the wheels and the skills to rise up when we need him to pick up some clutch goals.
Apr 4, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl (29) scores a goal past Los Angeles Kings goaltender Pheonix Copley (29) in the third period at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
3) Alex asks – What advantages does everybody think the Oilers have over the Kings in round one, and what advantages do the Kings have over Edmonton? Are there any areas one club is simply better at than the other?
Robin Brownlee:
I thought the Oilers PP would be a big advantage, but special teams are a bit of a saw-off actually. Oilers have a great PP but the Kings are pretty good there too. Oilers have more top-end firepower. Kings get a bump with Doughty in the line-up. I don’t see a significant edge for the Kings in any one area.
Jason Gregor:
Offensively they are much better. Edmonton’s top four forwards combined for 181 goals and 468 points while LA’s top four had 116 goals and 272 points. A total of 196 more points from four players.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
Special teams is a clear one in favour of Edmonton. Their forward group in general is much better. For the Kings, their blueline is very, very good and their defensive structure is an asset. Goaltending I honestly consider a bit of a wash.
Liam Horrobin:
The Oilers’ ability to score is a clear advantage for them. Edmonton had 325 goals during the regular season compared to the 280 of the Kings. LA won’t be able to play in a run-and-gun series against them.
On the flip side, the way the Kings play defensively. It is not a huge advantage since we have seen the Oilers win two games against it recently. However, you need to respect the defensive play of the Kings. With Kopitar and Danuelt down the middle, they’re built to defend against Edmonton.
Baggedmilk:
One team has Connor McDavid. Game, set, match. The Kings’ defensive structure has given the Oilers fits this year, and you know the trap will be dialed in for round one.
Mar 9, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center David Krejci (46) and Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl (29) during a faceoff in the second period at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
4) Eric asks – The post-season gets going today and I want to know everyone’s Stanley Cup Finals matchup for 2023 and who wins it all.
Robin Brownlee:
Boston and Edmonton. Oilers win in six.
Jason Gregor:
I picked Boston and Edmonton in our Dailyfaceoff picks. Edmonton wins. It is the first time I’ve picked them to even make a Final.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
I got the Oilers meeting the Rangers in the Stanley Cup Finals. It’d be a hell of a series and one that could honestly go seven games. McDavid is my Conn Smythe trophy winner.
Liam Horrobin:
The Edmonton Oilers vs the New York Rangers and the Oilers win in six!
Baggedmilk:
Oilers vs Carolina. Edmonton wins it in six games.
Apr 1, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner (74) celebrates with goaltender Jack Campbell (36) after his 6-0 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. The win was goaltender Jack Campbell (36) first shout-out as an Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
5) Brian asks – Is Skinner simply playing over his head right now or do you think we are seeing the emergence of Skinner the #1 goaltender for years to come? And if so what do you do with Campbell going forward?
Robin Brownlee:
Over his head? We haven’t seen enough of Skinner until this season to know what his expected level of performance is. His overall numbers now — 2.75 and .914 — aren’t out of line with a top/middle-10 starter. That’s sustainable. As for Campbell, you wait and see how he comes back after this off-season. There is no need to rush the situation.
Jason Gregor:
His numbers aren’t crazy. He has been solid. But he hasn’t been asked to be great either. Edmonton has the fourth lowest xGA on high danger chances via Clear Sight analytics and Skinner had a 0.03 save above expected from Sportlogiq. He has been in goalie friendly environment. He has made the saves he’s expected to make, so I don’t think it is a heater. It is realistic to remain the same, especially if the team continues to limit the quality chances.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
I think this is who he is. He showed this year he can handle 40+ appearances in a season and the thing that impressed me the most throughout his nearly 50 games played is how consistent he was. He never had a prolonged stretch where his numbers dipped significantly and that leads me to believe that he can be a legit number one for a long time.
Liam Horrobin:
We are seeing the emergence. As for Campbell, I think we will see another year of him being the backup and then from that point we shall see. With that said, having two goaltenders locked up for under $8 million isn’t that bad. I would take Campbell as the backup for the rest of his contract if Skinner continues to thrive.
Baggedmilk:
Stuart Skinner is legit and I think this just is what he is. As for Campbell, he’ll be back next year and given all the runway he needs to rebound. Skinner has earned the starter’s net., though.

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