The Edmonton Oilers Have a Stuart Skinner Problem

The Edmonton Oilers are trailing in their series with the Vancouver Canucks 2-1 after losing Game 3 by a score of 4-3. What is becoming evident is that Stuart Skinner is not the goaltender who can lead the Oilers to a Stanley Cup.

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Through the first three games of the series with the Canucks, Skinner has given up 12 goals and has a .789 save percentage to go along with a 4.63 goals-against average. And if you go back to the series’ final game against the Los Angeles Kings, Skinner has given up 15 goals in his past four games.

Skinner performed well against the Kings in Games 3 and 4 in the first-round series against the Kings. In both of those games, he was the reason the Oilers won. Not to mention, the Oilers power play is automatic. Skinner had a .962 save percentage in Game 3 and a 1.000 save percentage in Game 4, pitching a shutout.

Skinner has recorded a sub-.900 save percentage outside of those two games. That is not good enough to win in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Oilers do not have the defense the Colorado Avalanche had in 2022 when they protected Darcy Kuemper by playing defense by playing offense.

Through eight games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Stuart Skinner has a record of 5-3 with a 3.22 goals against average and a .877 save percentage. Those numbers will not get it done when the lights shine the brightest.

However, this is the same picture the Oilers have seen play out for years in the playoffs. When they needed a save, it was just not there. First, it was Mike Smith. Now, it is Stuart Skinner.

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As we saw last year in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, goaltending was a reason they did not advance, in addition to the Golden Knights turning the Oilers into a two-man show again.

If the Oilers are not playing the Kings, they struggle. Not to say the Vancouver Canucks are a far less talented team than the Vegas Golden Knights were, but let’s face it, most people picked Edmonton over Vancouver in this series because of what they saw in Round 1.

But there is a reason the Canucks won the Pacific Division and are 6-1 against the Oilers this year (playoffs and regular season included). When Vancouver needs a save, they get it. When the Oilers need a save, they do not.

Stuart Skinner is a good goalie in the NHL. He was an All-Star, but that term no longer applies. He is still an All-Star, but the Oilers failed to make a goalie change with their season on the brink.

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Recall, the Kings had the Oilers on the brink before Jack Campbell saved Edmonton’s season in Game 4 of Round 1. The only action Campbell saw in the second round of the playoffs against Vegas was three relief appearances. He stopped 22 of 23 shots, allowing one goal. Campbell never saw a start in the series.

We know Campbell’s story this season and Stuart Skinner’s struggles. However, with Campbell in Edmonton, it might be time for the Oilers to give him a look. There is a reason why he was given a five-year, $25 million contract with a $5 million AAV.

Skinner knows he needs to make more saves for the Oilers to win. Just go back and look at Game 1 when the Oilers ceased a 4-1 lead to the Canucks. One stop, and the Oilers would have won Game 1. But it is the same old story regarding Edmonton in the playoffs.

Their goaltending continues to let them down. Stuart Skinner has shown the ability to step up, but maybe it is time for a different look in Edmonton because this is not working.