Edmonton Oilers

The Oil Rig Mailbag: The preseason edition

At the Oil Rig we’re starting something fun! During the season I’ll be answering mailbag questions on a variety of things regarding the Oilers. For the first time this season I’m answering your questions on the club as the preseason chugs along.

Want your questions answered in our next mailbag? Follow us on our Twitter at @oilrigEDM to catch the next time we ask for your questions.

Skinner as a starter

Now while the Oilers are rightfully going into the season with Jack Campbell as their starting netminder, I’m not going to shut the door entirely on this happening. Stuart Skinner continues to improve in the Oilers organization. Last year with more time again in Bakersfield, he went 22–7–5 with a .920 SV%. Last season in his 13 games with the Oilers (6–6–2, .913 SV% and 2.6 GAA) you saw a goaltender that still had things to work on, but one that showed going forward he was taking the steps to become a full time NHL goalie.

This preseason, he’s shown improvement with a strong start against the Jets to open the preseason making 15 saves back on September 25, and we’re seeing his rebound control and his glove control take big steps. Both are huge to ensuring that he can stay up with the big club. As much as Jack Campbell deserves to go into season as the number one guy, he is a goaltender that has an injury history and at times can be streaky. Obviously, no one wants to see a goaltender go down or struggle, but if there was a need for Skinner to step in, don’t be surprised if he makes the most of it.

Holloway in the lineup

As it stands right now I really think the odds are more in favour of Dylan Holloway starting the season in Edmonton than in Bakersfield.

Now I’m not going to come out and say out of the gate to expect him playing top six minutes at left wing but I think he’s got a wonderful chance to slot himself into Edmonton’s third line at left wing. His game against the Winnipeg Jets was great: he looked good on the forecheck, he was going into the corners, was able to generate chances and was able to score. Against the Calgary Flames on September 28, we did see him struggle at 5v5 but I don’t think one game is going to make or break his chances at sticking with the big club.

He’s a player who will continue to put in the work at camp and learn from the last preseason game while he continues to improve.

Will there be a trade?

I completely agree that a 20- or 21-man roster in the west is not an ideal situation but as it stands right now I don’t see a trade happening. Now granted, Holland did say that he’ll have to make some decisions on the fly come the final week of the preseason, but we’ll have to wait and see in terms of what exactly that means.

The Oilers aren’t just going to make a move right now for the sake of doing it but we’ll have to see as we get closer to the season opener vs Vancouver. If I had to pick a name, the odds are high it’s Jesse Puljujarvi (who I absolutely do not want to see moved, why are you still trying to move your best defensive forward?), but don’t be surprised if potentially Warren Foegele could be the odd man out.

That’s it for our first mailbag. Follow us at @oilrigEDM for the next time we do a mailbag so you can ask us your burning questions.

Photo by Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire

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