Skinner sets the bar
Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
29 days ago
As good as he was in the blue paint for most of his first full NHL season with the Edmonton Oilers, Stuart Skinner is expecting more of himself in 2023-24. I’m guessing a lot of Oilers fans can get on board with that.
When you consider Skinner, 24, appeared in 50 games, posted a 29-14-5 record, a 2.75 GAA with a .914 save percentage, went to the all-star game and finished as runner-up to Matty Beniers for the Calder Memorial Trophy, it’s fair to say that’s setting the bar high.
But after taking the crease from Jack Campbell and assuming the role of starter for coach Jay Woodcroft, Skinner struggled during a post-season in which the Vegas Golden Knights bounced the Oilers in the second round. So, the local lad made good is insisting there is plenty of work to do. Satisfied he isn’t.
“I know for my rookie year it seems everything went pretty good and pretty smoothly, but I learned a lot of lessons,” Skinner said at a charity golf event last weekend. “I’ve got much, much better to bring next year, and hopefully I’m going to do that my whole career. I know it was a good year, but I know I’ve got a lot better.”
RE-BOOT FOR THE TANDEM
Mar 9, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Mattias Ekholm (14) celebrates with goaltender Stuart Skinner (74) after defeating the Boston Bruins at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
The story we know. Campbell, who signed a five-year deal worth $25 million in the summer of 2022, was supposed to be the starter. He struggled early and Skinner took over. He got the starter’s gig and a three-year deal at $7.8 million to go with it, but he dropped off to the tune of a 3.68 GAA and .833 in 12 post-season games. A sour end to a sweet rookie campaign.
Campbell went the other way in the playoffs, albeit in limited duty, posting a 1.01 GAA and .961 in 119 minutes spread over four appearances. History suggests Campbell will bounce back from a career-worst 3.41 GAA and .888 in 36 regular season games. The reality is the Oilers will need both stoppers on their games to get something done. Skinner is up for that.
“He was helping me so much all season long, even when I was doing well,” Skinner said of Campbell. “If I let in a squeaker I’d go back to the bench, and he’d be so supportive of just helping me get back to my game. When I was playing well, even if I played a couple games in a row, he was awesome about it and always taking me out to dinners and always congratulating me on my successes, as I was doing for him. We have a really good relationship.
“As a first-year goalie tandem, to get that close in one year . . . I know we’ve got at least three more years together. It’s going to be a blast. He’s one of the nicest guys in the NHL. He was awesome for me and I’m excited to keep on growing that relationship.”
THE NATION VACATION TO SEATTLE
Much like every time we’ve ever done a trip like this, our first-ever #NationVacation to Seattle is going to sell out quickly so you’ll want to get your spot locked in as soon as possible. Need some details on what’s going down? No problem:
- When: November 10 – 12th
- Where we’re staying: Four Points by Sheraton Downtown Seattle
- What you get: Your flights, three nights at the hotel, a ticket to the hockey game (Edmonton vs. Seattle), and a ticket to the football game the very next day (Seattle vs. Washington).
- How Much: The total cost for the trip, flight, hotel, and entry to the game is $1999 per person (based on double occupancy)
- Tickets: Ready to dive in? Click this link.
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