The Day After -6.0: The Jack Campbell Redemption Tour

Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Cam Lewis
6 months ago
Six pre-season games down, two to go.
The Oilers travelled to Seattle and picked up a 4-1 win over the Kraken despite being more than doubled in shots on goal.
The star of the game for the Oilers was goaltender Jack Campbell, who stopped 32 of 33 shots for his second win of the pre-season. Last week, Campbell made 24 saves on 25 shots in a win over the Calgary Flames, so his save percentage in the fall sits at a sparkling .971.
Campbell inked a five-year, $25 million contract with the Oilers last summer and struggled through his first season in Edmonton. He posted an .888 save percentage across 36 games and ultimately lost the net to rookie Stuart Skinner, who started all of the team’s playoff games in the spring.
After the game in Seattle, Campbell said that last year was a learning experience for him and he worked on a lot of things over the off-season to bring him back to where he needs to be.
“I just learned so much last year and worked super hard this summer on so many things, and it’s just fun to be back,” Campbell said. “This group’s hungry and there’s nothing better than being around a bunch of guys that are craving winning, so we’re just enjoying ourselves right now and just trying to get ready each day for the regular season.”
Head coach Jay Woodcroft spoke highly of Campbell’s play through his first two tune-up games and said that the organization has full faith that he can bounce back in 2023-24.
“I said this in Calgary the other day. He’s probably the best player on the ice for us in both of those games,” Woodcroft said. “That’s how he expects to play, and that’s how we as a coaching staff, we as a group of players, we as a management group, basically, our whole organization, expects Jack to play. We know he can do it, and he put in another good game tonight. He’s going to look to build on that as we move forward in the last two exhibition games, so I’m happy for him.”
It’ll be interesting to see who the Oilers start in their season opener against the Vancouver Canucks next Wednesday. The plan is for Campbell and Skinner to split the net this season and the Oilers will ultimately lean into whoever has the hot hand when one of them is doing well. Campbell has been excellent in the pre-season and giving him the nod would be a nice way for the Oilers to show faith in their veteran backstopper.


Things worth mentioning…

  • It’s looking a lot more likely that Raphael Lavoie will crack the roster out of training camp. It seemed that the team favoured Brandon Sutter for the final forward spot given his NHL experience and ability to play centre but he isn’t an option now that he’s announced his retirement. Lavoie spent most of the game against Seattle playing with Dylan Holloway and James Hamblin but he also saw some shifts on the right wing of Connor McDavid. Lavoie scored 25 goals last season for the Bakersfield Condors of the AHL and scored a beauty against the Canucks last week. It’s difficult to imagine 31 teams passing on Lavoie if he goes on waivers.
  • Xavier Bourgault played on a line with AHL veterans Seth Griffith and Brad Malone and the 21st-overall pick from the 2021 draft buried two goals on three shots. Bourgault scored 13 goals and 34 points over 62 games for the Condors in his first season at the professional level and will look to build on that in 2023-24. If Bourgault has a strong season, he’ll certainly be in the mix for a mid-season call-up.
  • An interesting development in training camp has been the play of defenceman Ben Gleason. He signed with the Dallas Stars as an undrafted free agent back in 2018 after finishing his OHL career and put up some very strong results playing for their AHL affiliate. The 25-year-old left-handed defender inked a two-year, two-way deal with the Oilers in the off-season and figured to be added depth for Bakersfield but Gleason has made a name for himself during the pre-season. Against Seattle, Gleason logged a team-leading 23:53 minutes and was on the ice for all four of Edmonton’s goals.


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