‘We feel really good about our goaltending:’ Oilers GM Ken Holland says he won’t be in the market for goaltending upgrades

Photo credit:Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
1 month ago
It’s never a dull moment when it comes to goaltending in Edmonton.
For decades, a revolving cast of names have rolled through town, each having their own strengths and weaknesses, but few have ever been able to withstand the pressure of playing in such a market. Save for the Oilers most recent starter, Stuart Skinner, an Edmonton-born, Oilers drafted and developed netminder who has taken the reigns of this franchise. His cool, calm and collected demeanour has paid off dividends.
But Skinner, for all his strengths, is still a young goaltender in this league at 25-years-old. Last season was so strong it earned up a spot on the All-Rookie team, finishing second in Calder voting to Matty Beniers. He played in 50 games, starting 48, but appeared to burn out in the playoffs as his .913 save percentage and 2.75 GAA plummeted to a .883 and a 3.68, respectively.
Skinner’s on pace this season to play in over 60 games, and more that a fair share of questions have been raised regarding his ability to avoid a similar burnout, and backup netminder Calvin Pickard’s ability to fill in, if need be.
One person who’s not concerned about that is Oilers GM Ken Holland. So much so that in a recent Q&A with The Athletic’s Daniel Nugent-Bowman, he said he wasn’t in the market for goaltending help.
No. I’m not exploring the market at all.
I’ve got a guy that was a Calder Trophy finalist with 29 wins and he’s 24 years of age. (Calvin Pickard) has come up and he’s done a real good job. He’s got a save percentage of .905 in his role as a backup. Jack Campbell’s played about as good a hockey as he’s (ever) played. He’s over a .920 save percentage (in the AHL) since the beginning of December. He seems to be settled in and playing great. Ollie Rodrigue continues to perform and produce at a high level.
We feel really good about our goaltending.
For as solid as these goaltenders have played in their own right, Pickard is a career journeyman who played a career-high 50 NHL games in 2016-17 — but has never played over 17 games in a year since with a career .887 save percentage in those 29 games. Despite solid play in the AHL, there’s no indication he could run with it in the NHL in a worst-case scenario.
And for as solid as Campbell has been in the American League, his NHL time in Edmonton has been nothing short of disaterous with a .886 save percentage and .353 GAA across 41 games. Would the Oilers feel that confident in him being able to translate his strong AHL play as of late to the NHL? Evidently, that might be the case.
The NHL market for goaltenders isn’t exactly robust right now, either. On Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli’s latest trade targets list, he listed three goalies who could be available: Jake Allen, Jacob Markstrom, Elvis Merzlikins. The only one of the three who could be of interest to Edmonton might be Allen, but the Oilers appear ready to stand pat.

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@thenationnetwork.com.

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