June 13, 2024

With two back-to-back games in February, Oilers goaltenders Stuart Skinner and Calvin Pickard will share the load. The Edmonton Oilers have sixteen games remaining before the 2024 Trade Deadline. Since the start of the season, Skinner has significantly improved, and Pickard, who took Jack Campbell’s place in early November, has been reliable in his backup role.

How Stuart Skinner became Oilers' 'young goalie on the rise' and what's  next for him to realize potential - The Athletic

It might be preferable to leave things as they are with the goalie given how well the Oilers are performing and how close they are to breaking league records for consecutive victories. But in Oil Country, there will undoubtedly be some obstacles in the way of the playoffs.

The million-dollar question is what Oilers general manager Ken Holland and CEO of hockey operations Jeff Jackson must respond to. Evidently, Skinner has regained the form that let him qualify for the Calder Trophy finals in the 2022–2023 campaign. However, what about Pickard? When the games heat up in April and maybe in May and June, can the Oilers rely on him to keep up his impressive play? According to reports, he is well-liked in the Oilers dressing room. Do you meddle with team chemistry when the season is turning out the way it has?

Pickard has a similarity to Jussi Markkanen, the former goalkeeper with the Oilers. If you remember, the Oilers were on a roll in the 2006 Playoffs, with starting goalie Dwayne Roloson performing brilliantly and the team seemingly headed for a Stanley Cup Final victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. That is, until Roloson was hurt in Game 1 and backup Ty Conklin, with 32 seconds remaining in the game, made a crucial mistake behind his goal, which allowed Carolina to win 5–4. In that series, Conklin never again touched the ice. Markkanen stepped in excellently, leading the Oilers to a 3-1 loss in Game 7. Is Pickard Markkanen’s second coming? Or should the Oilers get a new goalie for

Campbell may have part of the key to this entire goalie situation. With the American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate of the Oilers, the Bakersfield Condors, he has improved his game significantly and currently has a 9-6 record and a.904 save percentage. Even while those aren’t outstanding figures, they’re still a lot better than when Campbell initially joined the Condors, his confidence so low that he was unable to stop a beach ball, not even in California.

Thankfully, Campbell has been playing better of late, which might make him a valuable trade asset because NHL teams like the Carolina Hurricanes, New Jersey Devils, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Los Angeles Kings may require a goaltender of NHL caliber. Although he is playing in the lower leagues, Campbell’s contract still counts as $3.85 million against the cap, so the Oilers might have some extra cap room if one of these teams were to keep some of his pay. Campbell needs a fresh start. A seasoned goalie could be brought in to share the net with Skinner thanks to the additional financial space. Still, it might be better for the Oilers to maintain their patience. Particularly considering how brilliantly Pickard has performed during their extensive

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