Is Stuart Skinner prepared for prime time? Edmonton Oilers season may depend upon it


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It is the feel-good story of the season—the Edmonton child who grew up idolizing Dwayne Roloson turns to the identical Oilers web. Now it’s as much as the 23-year-old to do effectively on the angle.

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The Edmonton Oilers season may depend upon it.

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“It is a huge problem forward of me and I am actually excited for it,” mentioned backup goalkeeper Stuart Skinner, a part of Edmonton’s new goalscoring tandem with Jack Campbell. “I can not wait to get the ball rolling.

“I acquired slightly style of it final yr. I will do very effectively what I did final yr — I’ve a job, to cease the brewing, and that is what I will do.

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With extra uniformity, a tighter schedule, extra journey and extra consideration being paid to the wear and tear and tear it places on the workforce, the coaches are largely pulling again the reins on their starters.

Gone are the times when goalkeepers performed near 70 video games a season and backups have been negligible seat-fillers, getting a handful of items a yr in comparison with hand-picked patties. Final season, solely 5 NHL goalkeepers revamped 59 begins, that means 27 different groups needed to depend on their backups with nearly one-third of their video games. Subsequently, it’s no exaggeration to recommend {that a} backup goalkeeper could make or break a season.

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It is an enormous accountability in a vital marketing campaign for the 23-year-old native boy, with a complete of 14 NHL video games, however Skinner believes he’s up for the most important problem of his skilled profession.

Why? As a result of he’s at all times working in the direction of this chance.

“I feel it is simply expertise,” he mentioned after the second day of Oilers coaching camp at Rogers Place. “It is figuring out that labored. I’ve acquired plenty of video games within the American League and the ECHL is working its means up.

“I’ve slightly bit within the NHL – I performed some good groups, acquired a couple of wins underneath my belt. I am extra comfy on this league. Now, stick with it, step up my sport and do what I am doing That is the yr to maintain doing it.”

Within the NHL, Skinner is 7-6-0 always with a .909 save share and a couple of.80 GAA. The numbers recommend he’s geared up to deal with Campbell (who began 49 video games for Toronto final yr) not a swallow, however the goalkeeper is a clumsy place and issues can go sideways for no obvious purpose.

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Until Skinner steps in and performs persistently as a full-time backup, you do not know for positive that he can.

“I do not know if the query mark is the best way I would put it,” mentioned Oilers goalscoring coach Dustin Schwartz. “On the finish of the day, he has to reply to a couple of issues, perhaps slightly greater than he is capable of carry.

“He has proved in 14 matches that he has the talent and talent to play right here, however there are such a lot of different components that go into it – the psychological grind of the season, the adversity that comes with it. These are among the issues that Time will give them an opportunity to maneuver on.”

When final season referred to as, Skinner had some nice nights (a shutout in opposition to the San Jose Sharks and a 46-save win in opposition to Winnipeg) in addition to some averages. Fourteen profession video games is not a lot, however every season has significance.

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“That have is priceless,” Schwartz mentioned. “Now he simply has to go on the market and do it. He will get an opportunity to step into the workforce and tackle a much bigger half.”

The goaltender is the toughest job to interrupt into the NHL stage as a result of there may be nowhere to cover. Coaches can restrict a younger ahead’s minutes, management his subject begin, and match him in opposition to fourth-line opponents. Goalkeepers are thrown into the 60-minute hearth that they don’t seem to be at all times prepared to begin their careers with.

“I feel plenty of it’s psychological,” Schwartz mentioned. “You go to the following stage of your profession, you place stress, the tempo of the sport goes up lots, which modifications the studying. That is why it takes a while, you have got to have the ability to learn the sport at that stage. Ought to be.

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“He is come a good distance with it. When he acquired an opportunity with Mike Smith’s harm final yr he was able to go and he took benefit of it. That is one thing that basically impressed me and his An enormous credit score goes to him for the work he has performed.”

If there is a weight on his shoulders, Skinner simply would not really feel it. In actual fact, he is much more relaxed than he was final yr.

“You’re feeling extra comfy,” he mentioned. “In earlier years you come and have some nerves – there are nonetheless some nerves nonetheless coming to camp, that is regular – however this yr is completely different.

“I am extra assured and comfy. I do know boys much more. It sounds such as you’re in a greater place.”

rtychkowski@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/rob_tychkowski

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