Oilers GM Ken Holland admits he made a major mistake with Jack Campbell

Liam McCormick
February 8, 2024  (11:30)

Jack Campbell with the Oilers
Photo credit: The Hockey Writers

Just one year after signing a massive contract for 5 years and $25M, Jack Campbell seriously struggled in his time with the Oilers. After 5 games this season and with the team free-falling, Oilers GM Ken Holland had no choice but to send him down to the AHL, because it was impossible to win with him in net. However, now Holland's admitting that he made a mistake with Campbell.

When Campbell first arrived in the AHL, he hit rock bottom and was absolutely awful. Since then, he's turned it around, and has had a string of recent success with a .935 save percentage in his last seven games. Ken Holland admitted that it may have been a mistake to play Campbell right away upon arrival in the AHL, and maybe he should have allowed him time to gather himself before getting back on the ice.
»«In hindsight, I think I made a mistake that when I sent him down. Probably should not have had him play right off the bat.»
-Ken Holland on Jack Campbell

Looking to a very similar example, the Toronto Maple Leafs sent down their starter Ilya Samsonov, and although he didn't play a game in the AHL, has been much better upon his return. Maybe, Campbell just needed some time away from the rink entirely to regain his confidence and have a clear mind when he got back.
Now the Oilers will need to make a critical decision on their goaltending heading into the trade deadline of a season where they have a clear shot at the Stanley Cup. The team has been linked to veteran starters in trade like Marc-Andre Fleury and Jake Allen, but Campbell is a total wild card for the team at this point. His improved play is promising no matter what, whether he gets called back up to the Oilers or traded to another team to free up cap space.
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Oilers GM Ken Holland admits he made a major mistake with Jack Campbell

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