Woodcroft Sends Encouraging Words for Campbell

Published October 4, 2023 at 0:46

Oilers goaltender Jack Campbell is on a mission this year to turn the page from his dismal first season as the Oilers' highest-paid goaltender. He had many highs and lows during that time and lost the starting role to backup Stuart Skinner.

The expectation was for Campbell to become the number one goalie after being awarded a $5 million per season contract over five years after he spent several seasons as the starter of the Toronto Maple Leafs. However, Skinner rose to the occasion and helped guide the Oilers into the playoffs.

As the playoffs wore on, Skinner's game began to erode, and he had a terrible save percentage of .883. This led to the Oilers losing in the second round to the Vegas Golden Knights.

Turn the page to this year's preseason, however, and it seems that Campbell has found his groove again. He has given the Oilers some superb goaltending as of late, playing 122 minutes with a minuscule 0.8 goals against and a save percentage of .971. Those numbers certainly give Woodcroft pause as he evaluates his goaltenders to decide who will get the starting role at the beginning of the year.

EDMONTON — Things We (Think We) Know. Series 2, Volume 1.

Things We Know

It was one thing that Stuart Skinner's game eroded during last spring's playoff run, as he started all 12 games the Edmonton Oilers played but only finished eight of them. It was quite another that the Oilers coaches, as the rookie Skinner's save percentage plummeted to .883, did not trust Jack Campbell enough to give him a start.

The way Campbell has played thus far in the pre-season — 122 minutes, a 0.98 goals-against average and a save percentage of .971 — bodes well for Edmonton's crease. Skinner, who has a 2.99 GAA and an .880 saves percentage in the same minutes, is best served by having to earn his crease — not having the No. 1 job handed to him because of something he did a year ago.

Question: Is it even possible that Campbell could earn the opening night start in Vancouver? Head coach Jay Woodcroft assures us.

Answer: «It's an open competition,» for that Game 1 start.

If the numbers stay the same through these last two pre-season games, Woodcroft can't start Skinner in Game 1 and tell us it is a meritocracy in goal. He knows it, and made that clear on Tuesday.

Woodcroft himself mentioned what the goalie situation looks like, where he feels strongly that it's an open competition. With those numbers, Campbell could likely get the starting role back for the beginning of the year, as coaches will award great work.

If Campbell has rebounded and become the goalie that the Oilers expected him to be, this will bode well for general manager Ken Holland, who gave him a steep raise from his previous contract with the Leafs and his belief that Campbell is the true starter.

Source - Sportsnet.ca "Things We Know: Oilers' Campbell giving Skinner a good push.
October 4   |   166 answers
Woodcroft Sends Encouraging Words for Campbell

Will Jack Campbell have a great year for the Oilers?

Yes13279.5 %
No3420.5 %
Latest 10 stories