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NHL Notebook: Is Stuart Skinner now the Edmonton Oilers starting goalie, Jakob Chychrun returns and more

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Photo credit:Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
2 months ago
Has Stuart Skinner taken over as the Edmonton Oilers’ starting goaltender?
I think it’s close and the way the Oilers are utilizing him makes me wonder. In what was a more-or-less must-win for the team Saturday night against the Vegas Golden Knights, it was Skinner who got the nod. He turned aside 31 of the 34 shots he faced, and kept them in that game.
Now, tonight, Skinner is set to face the New Jersey Devils in a tough road matchup. He faced them earlier in November turning aside 39 of 43 shots in the Oilers’ 4-3 loss, and now gets a shot at redemption.
These are some big games and it appears the Oilers trust Skinner to take them.
I talked about it more in today’s Oil Spills.

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Chychrun returns

Jakob Chychrun is set to return to the Arizona Coyotes lineup Monday night and surely, the trade talks will pick up at some point.
He returns to the lineup after undergoing offseason surgery on his wrist that forced him to miss the first 16 games of the season. He’s coming off a 2021-22 season that saw him score seven goals and 21 points in 47 games, and there’s a good chance he gets back on the powerplay today.

Shane Wright and the Kraken

Times are strange in Seattle. After taking Shane Wright 4th overall in the draft, the team is barely playing him in his rookie season. He’s drawn in for just seven games this season playing over 8:42 in a game just once.
And over the weekend, the club sent him to their AHL affiliate, the Coachella Valley Firebirds, for a conditioning stint.
What’s next? Who knows, but Daily Faceoff’s Steven Ellis tried to make sense of it all.
Not much has changed since Oct. 26, and now Wright’s stuck in the shadow realm waiting for the best path forward. Unlike most prospects his age, he hasn’t had any consistency – other than a lack of consistency – from the get-go. For a kid his age, this is a terrible development path, but it’s hard to argue for anything better right now. He nearly had 100 points last year as a draft-eligible prospect – could he truly gain anything against junior players?
That’s why the AHL is a nice little stopgap. But like any stopgap, it’s temporary, allowing him to play up to five games during a maximum of 14 days. Fourteen days from Sunday is Dec. 5, two days after the fifth possible game he could play with the Firebirds. On Dec. 6, the Kraken play Montreal – the team most people expected to pick him – which wouldn’t be an awkward return or anything.
Except, it seems unlikely he’d go back to Seattle. At least, right away.
The most likely scenario would see Wright attending Canada’s World Junior Championship training camp in Dec. 9-12. That isn’t ideal, especially after Wright and the Kraken agreed focusing on an NHL training camp was more important than pursuing gold over the summer at the rescheduled tournament. Canada won gold and didn’t really need Wright, but imagine what he’d do for a team that will likely have Connor Bedard, Adam Fantilli and Logan Stankoven down the middle – after Wright has tasted the NHL.
The last thing you need is for your young star prospect to lose confidence. One of the best ways for a young prospect with so much potential to lose confidence is sitting games out while watching your teammates thrive. Winning gold on home ice with Canada could do wonders for him.
It’s what happens next that’s the biggest question. Do they bring him back to Seattle? Would he even have a spot left for him? Would he head back to Kingston, or another OHL team via trade? Wright’s situation is complicated because he’s probably still too good to go back to junior, but the agreement with the CHL prevents him from going to the AHL full-time. But it wasn’t working in Seattle, and barring injuries, he’d likely end up back on the sidelines again.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.

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