Yesterday the Oilers did a thing in signing Stuart Skinner to an entry level contract. Skinner was quite impressive after being traded to the Swift Current Broncos and was crucial to their victory. Skinner outperformed Carter Hart who is arguably the best goalie prospect in the WHL, posting 6 shutouts and a .932 Sv% over his playoff run.
Before anyone jumps to discussing Skinner as the Oilers future starter let's take a step back.
First off and this is the most important thing: Goalies are voodoo. Skinner had a .897 Sv% in 31 games with Lethbridge before being traded to the extremely skilled Broncos and posted a .914 Sv%... it's almost as if the skill of the team in front of you effects how good the goaltender is.....
Goalies drafted in the 1st round may never play an NHL game while goalies in the 6th round become Vezina candidates, it's extremely difficult to track goalie progress. Having said that the fact that Skinner has this many up arrows right now is certainly encouraging.
The Oilers have utilized a handful of darts and thrown them at a dart board strategy in regard to their goalies. Skinner joins Wells, Ellis, Starett, Koskinen, Talbot, Brossoit, and Montoya in the system.
Brossoit is a UFA and it is likely his time with the Oilers is over. While Brossoit never gained any traction in the NHL I do believe the Oilers did a poor job managing him. Talbot was a workhorse in the 2016-2017 season leaving the 24 year old Brossoit as a backup who played less than 10 games. Young goalies need to play and Brossoit did not get that chance. He will surely get another chance with a different organization.
Ellis is an RFA and will get a qualifying offer from the Oilers and will receive the bulk of the Condors games (more on that in a bit). Starett who will be 24 when the season starts will probably be joining Ellis there. Meanwhile Wells and Skinner will both go back to junior. Again it's crucial to give goalies as many games as possible; there is no reason to try and rush Skinner in particular right now.
The wrench in these scenarios is Al Montoya who looks to be the odd man out and remains a bizarre trade by Chiarelli. The 33 year old goaltender performed as to be expected with a .906 Sv% in 9 games with the Oilers and a 2.94 GAA. The Oilers ended up giving up a 4th round draft pick for him (at a point when the season was already lost). Things have gotten more complicated with the 2.5 million dollar signing of Koskinen who with that money, certainly seems like he is expected to back-up Talbot for the coming season.
The options left with Montoya are to try and trade him to another team, bury him in the minors, or let him and Koskinen duke it out for the backup position.
If Montoya performs better than Koskinen in training camp it will make a suspect signing look even worse and be another notch on Chiarelli's belt.
The Oilers have some promising names in the crease pool right now but as always with goalies things could look very different a year from now.
Thanks for reading!