Though it may not have had the ending he wanted, Stuart Skinner had an exceptional rookie season for the Edmonton Oilers.
The 24-year-old began the season as the team’s backup but quickly transitioned into the starter due to the struggles of Jack Campbell. His 2.73 goals against average paired with his .914 save percentage were enough to have him named as a finalist for the Calder Trophy earlier in the month.
“I thought it was a good year. You come in as a certified backup for the first little bit, and my goal was just to compete with [Campbell] and work my bag off every day, get better every day,” Skinner said. “I got a couple opportunities and tried to grab that. Had the opportunity to play a few more games and try to win some more games. Obviously being able to start in the playoffs is what you want to do, it’s a dream come true.”
Unfortunately for Skinner, his play in the postseason dipped dramatically. He was pulled four times in his 12 starts and finished the playoffs with a 3.68 GAA.
“I think taking it as fuel,” Skinner said when asked how he will look back at his performance in the playoffs. “I want to skate today. I don’t want to have any time off right now, I want to get back to work right away. The body does need the rest and the recovery, but I’m going to keep this one locked up in my heart and in my mind for the whole summer. I’m going to use it as fuel to do that extra rep on the bike.”
Skinner’s play this season saw him rewarded with a three-year, $7.6 million deal beginning in 2023-24, meaning he and Campbell will likely be the Oilers’ duo once again next season. The latter has four years remaining on a contract that carries a cap hit of $5 million and is hoping for a bounce back after a disappointing season.
"We understand that we have a window of opportunity as a group to do something special."
Evander Kane & Stuart Skinner reflect on the season. @Enterprise | #LetsGoOilers
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) May 16, 2023
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