Most fans would agree that the Edmonton Oilers have seen inconsistent results throughout the season’s first quarter; the club is now 14–11–0 this season, good for 28 points and a wild-card spot in the playoff race. A big part of their inconsistency is the fact that the Oilers goaltending tandem of Jack Campbell and Stuart Skinner has been shaky to start the season.
With the Oiler’s goaltending struggles in mind, we wanted to know, who would you rather have playing between the pipes for the Oilers this season?
We asked, you answered. Let’s take a look!
Jack Campbell‘s story to the NHL has been an inspiring one; he was drafted in the first round at 11th overall by the Dallas Stars back in 2010; Campbell struggled in Dallas and was traded to the Los Angeles Kings during the 2016–17 season where he started to see some positive results in the AHL and in a backup roll peaking at a .928 SV%. He was then traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 2019–20 season and stayed until the 2022 offseason when he was acquired by the Edmonton Oilers and signed his new big-money contract.
Since the start of the season, Campbell has played 13 games for the Oilers; he currently has an SV% of .872 and a GAA of 4.12. Campbell would be the first one to tell you he is not happy with his performance thus far with his new club, but it certainly doesn’t look like it due to a lack of effort.
13% of poll voters would like to have Campbell currently between the pipes for the Oilers this season; This low number is likely influenced by some recency bias, considering how poorly he has performed as of late. Campbell’s past numbers suggest he will likely turn it around, and fans need to remember he does need time to adjust to the new team and new life here in Edmonton.
Cam Talbot is an undrafted goaltender who started his NHL career playing for the New York Rangers back in 2013, where he played until 2015, when he was signed by the Edmonton Oilers to a three-year contract with a cap hit of $4,166,666 per season.
During his years in Edmonton, Talbot was able to maintain a SV% of above .900 every year, with his best numbers being in the first two years of the deal posting a .917 SV% in the 2015–16 season and a .919 SV% during the 2016–17 season. He also had a spectacular run in the playoffs in 2017, where he maintained a .924 SV% and a GAA of 2.48, helping the Oilers make it to Game 7 of the Second Round, where the club lost 2–1 to the Anaheim Ducks.
54% of poll voters would like to have Cam Talbot between the pipes for this season. Talbot is currently the starter for the Ottawa Senators and has an SV% of .919 and a GAA of 2.50 through 12 games with his new club. Talbot missed some games at the start of the season due to a hip injury, but since then, he has played well for an under-performing Senators team with a record of 10–13–1, where his own record is 4–6–0.
Mike Smith was drafted in the fifth round by the Dallas Stars in 2001. Since then, he has played a long NHL career on many teams, including Tampa bay, Arizona, Calgary and most recently, Edmonton. Smith earned a reputation for his high event play style, elite puck-playing ability and competitive nature.
During his three years in Edmonton, he maintained an average SV% of .913 in the regular season with the club. Like Campbell, Smith was a streaky goalie and seemed to play the best when he was feeling confident. Smith is currently on the Oilers’ LTIR and not likely to return to the team due to injuries which—according to Ken Holland—he played through for most of the 2021–22 campaign.
Smith played great hockey, considering the fact he was battling injuries through the 2021–22 playoff run in which posted a .913 SV% and played a key role in helping the Oilers make it to the conference final, where they got swept by the Colorado Avalanche.
23% of poll voters would like to have Mike Smith back between the pipes this season, but given his age of 40 and the injury situation, it is unlikely he will ever play another NHL game. Smith will likely finish his career having played 670 NHL games with a career SV% of .912.
The New York Islanders drafted Mikko Koskinen in the second round at 31st overall in 2009; he played four games for the club in 2010-11 season and then didn’t play another NHL game until the Oilers signed him in the 2019–20 season to a one-year “show me” deal where he posted a .907 SV%. Peter Chiarelli then decided to sign him to a three-year extension with a cap hit of $4.5 million; during those three years, he posted an average SV% of .906, underwhelming for a $4.5 dollar NHL goalie.
Koskinen seemed to play well when playing as a backup, but once the Mike Smith injuries begin to become a regular occurrence, he seemed to crumble under the workload and play poorly. Koskinen also seemed to have issues stopping shots glove side, and many teams took advantage of this over the years. In his seven playoff appearances with the Oilers, he posted a .892 SV% with a GAA of 3.42.
9% of poll voters would like to see Koskinen back playing for the club this season. Koskinen signed a new deal with Lugano in the national league, he currently has an SV% of .921 in 18 games played.
That’s a wrap
Thank you to everyone who took part in the poll, stay tuned for next week’s Sunday Census!