Edmonton Oilers

Stuart Skinner establishing himself as a top goaltender in the NHL

In Tuesday’s first period, Toronto captain John Tavares ran down Stuart Skinner. Later in the period, Skinner was involved in a three-car pileup in the crease while attempting to keep the puck out of the net against attempts by David Kampf and others to put the puck in the cage and hoist the goalkeeper into the net.

It was all in a night’s work for the unflappable Edmonton Oilers goalie, whose bulky build and body of work—which saw him fall from 4-7 with a horrifying.865 save % in his first 12 games—survived the horrific collisions. With 19 victories, he now has the fifth-most in the NHL after a 15-2 record over the past two months. He will probably start against Seattle on Thursday.

With a save percentage of.903, he trails just Sergei Bobrovsky, Thatcher Demko, Connor Hellebuyck, and Aleksandar Georgiev in wins.

To put Skinner’s record in perspective, consider that he has more victories than Vezina-caliber players Igor Shesterkin, Juuse Saros, and Ilya Sorokin combined.The overworked Georgiev in Colorado (36 starts) was a fan vote addition, despite having a sub-900 (.897) save percentage and a much higher (. 292 to 2.61) goal average to Skinner, who is not traveling to Toronto for the 3-on-3 match. Hellebuyck, Demko, and Sergei Bobrovsky will all be playing in the all-star game next month.

Simply put, since November, people have been sluggish to realize how excellent he has been.

So well, in fact, that his coach Kris Knoblauch was a little anxious from behind the bench that he wouldn’t be limping when he was a piñata in the 4-2 victory over the Maple Leafs. Although he doesn’t play every day ending in y, Calvin Pickard gives him the occasional game off.

You do indeed hold your breath. Nothing malevolent was present. They didn’t intentionally run the goaltender. The coach frequently becomes enraged over that. A goalie is an extremely important member of your squad. They’re crucial, especially when they’re performing as well as Stu is right now, Knoblauch stated. Although he has an incredible 21-6 record (.777 winning percentage) since taking over for Jay Woodcroft on November 12, Knoblauch undoubtedly believes in the tired cliche that excellent goalies also make excellent coaches.

And since November 24, Skinner has been on a 15-2 tear in his previous 17 starts (Islanders and Tampa defeats) (32 goals allowed). Dec. 14 was his last awful game, where he wanted to toss the DVD in the trash after losing five to the Lightning here. After the game, he accepted full responsibility while Andrei Vasilievskiy, his opponent, stood on his head.Don’t try to hide. “Skinner’s not talking tonight” did not exist.“I lost this game in the end. I’ll take that on, and I’ll come out stronger,” Skinner remarked.

He has fulfilled his promise.

He has suffered 12 defeats and eight victories in a row.

“Knoblauch has been fantastic since the beginning (the team’s Nov. 13 victory over the Islanders), but he’s really good right now. Though we experienced the breakdowns, I believed we had more zone time on the part of the Leafs. Their odds of earning a grade A were higher. Similar to the first, with roughly five minutes remaining, Stu made a huge save on (Pontus) Holmberg. We’re down two going into the second quarter if he doesn’t accomplish it. Perhaps the outcome is a little different,” Knoblauch remarked.

27 seconds into the Leafs game, Auston Matthews scored a goal off a strong Mitch Marner cross-ice assist. Skinner stopped William Nylander on a breakaway and only allowed one more goal to Morgan Rielly in tight.

It’s humbling, though, to have to reset after digging a puck out of your net on the opening shift.

“It seems like we’ve allowed the first shot three or four times in a row, and we’ve pretty much shut it down after that,” Skinner said. “As for me, there’s still a lot of action, particularly in the first minute.” Simply attempt to refocus and resume your work.

If, as many have been lately, he had been sick, the crashes would have cleansed his sinuses. Evander Kane backchecked Tavares, upending him and sending him slamming into Skinner. Tavares expressed regret. It was kind of him to be so gracious about it afterwards, Tavares. He bumped into me and tore off a chunk of my leg. I took a few moments to make sure I wasn’t experiencing any pain. Everything went well, stated the 230-pound, 6-foot-4 Skinner.As the Leafs attempted to push the puck across the line during the second period moshpit in the crease, Skinner ended up on the bottom of a sea of bodies. They forced Skinner into the net even though they didn’t. “I had to fight to keep the puck out of the net, and I lost that battle.” We succeeded,” he remarked.

After the puck bit the goalkeeper in the opening frame, Skinner robbed Nylander in isolation to keep the Oilers in the game. The puck then tore off the crossbar.

“Leaped off my shoulder,” Skinner remarked…

The previous season, Skinner played 50 games as a rookie (29-14-5,.914 save %), coming in second behind Matty Beniers, the center from Seattle, in the Calder Trophy ballot. The Kraken are in town on Thursday night after traveling all the way from New York for their Eastern swing, stopping at Rogers Place on the way home.He will surpass that in the first 40 Oiler games with 29 starts and 30 outings.

Although Pickard has played seven games and has a 4-2 record, 2.69 average, and.902 save percentage, there isn’t currently a 1 and 1a in net. Pickard has performed admirably. Maybe four out of every five games, it’s Skinner’s. If the Wild are in a sell-off mode on March 8, they will probably be looking at the trade deadline for veteran insurance as well as possibly a partnership. Marc-Andre Fleury would be a target, but Minnesota would have to absorb half of his $3.25 million cap hit, and Fleury would have to waive his no-trade clause.

 

But all Skinner for the time being.

The Oilers have a great opportunity to play him because of the schedule. Two back-to-backs in the first three months, Jersey-Rangers and Kings-Ducks, easy travel. They don’t play again until February 23–24, when they host Minnesota and Calgary at home.

According to Knoblauch, “the schedule is pretty light through the month of January.” “We play three games a week, not back-to-backs. Of course, things alter significantly in March and April.

The Oilers have 10 games in 18 days in April and 15 games in March. In 49 days, that’s 25 games. We have a strategy on what will work best going forward, possibly for the next two or three weeks. You consider the opponent, the practice period, and the performance of the goalies. As of right now, Knoblauch stated, “Stu was supposed to play a lot of games in January—11 games spread over 27 days.””Is it going to be 50/50 (later) with Pickard or with another goalkeeper who is helping him in a trade? How it goes, we’ll see,” he remarked.

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