Significant turn of events in Jack Campbell saga in Edmonton
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Significant turn of events in Jack Campbell saga in Edmonton

Get ready, Oilers fans!



At the end of the 2022-23 season, there was a sense that the road might be coming to an end of Oilers goalie Jack Campbell in Edmonton. To say that he did not exactly live up to the contract in his first season with the Oilers would be an understatement. For the first half of the year, he sported a GAA of just under 4.00, a save percentage well below .900, and zero shutouts. While his final regular season record of 21-9-4 isn’t bad at all, his numbers still were not indicative of a starting netminder making $5 million a season, finishing with a 3.41 goals against average and seeing his starting role taken by rookie Stuart Skinner. Reports emerged that GM Ken Holland could look to move Campbell during the season, however, head coach Jay Woodcroft now claims it’s still an “open competition” between Campbell and Stuart for the starting job in Edmoton.

“I don’t think that I have all the information to make that decision just yet,” he said Tuesday. “I’m not gonna lay out my process in making that decision. We’re realists and we understand that we need both goalies - it’s a two-goalie league now. We have 1A and 1B, and they’re going to sort out who’s who.”

In the preseason, Skinner and Campbell have both appeared in two games, but the latter is the one with the better numbers for now.

“They both are gonna get another (preseason) game here to sort that out and make my decision easy,” Woodcroft said.

Last season, Stuart not only stole the job from under Campbell, he was also named a Calder Trophy finalist after registering a .914 save percentage to go along with a 29-14-5 record. He started in all 12 playoffs game for the Oilers, struggling with an under-.900 save percentage. As for Campbell, he looked great in in four relief appearances, logging a .961 clip and 1.01 GAA.

Campbell, who’s entering the second season of a five-year, $25-million contract, is hoping to build on his promising playoff performance for the 2023-24 season.

“I think (Campbell) went into the summer with a clear frame of mind on what he wanted to get better at,” the coach added. “He appears to me to be very relaxed. He’s letting the game come to him, he’s made numerous great saves. He’s in a good headspace, he’s in a good physical space. … What a guy to be partnered up with.”

It remains to be seen if Campbell will be the one the Oilers trust with the starting job at the beginning of the season. There are two preseason games remaining, one tonight against the Calgary Flames and the last on Oct. 6 versus the Seattle Kraken.

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