With Mike Smith injured and Mikko Koskinen struggling, the Edmonton Oilers will turn to Stuart Skinner in goal Saturday night against the Ottawa Senators.
Skinner was called up from the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors on Thursday. Before he could travel, he had to be tested for COVID multiple teams as the Condors had an unusually high number of positive tests over the last two days.
“It all ended up being false positives for pretty well everyone except for one or two guys, I think. I tested three more times. They were all negative so I was able to hop on the plane,” explained Skinner.
Skinner, 23, has a 4-5 record and .916 save percentage with the Oilers this season. He’s shone with the Condors, going 6-0-2 with a .925 save percentage.
“It’s been great. Obviously, being able to play a few games in the NHL and then go back and play a few games in Bako and the back up here, it’s just more experience for me to get. I’ve been having a lot of fun with it,” Skinner said.
“The development for him started two and three years ago,” said head coach Dave Tippett. “(Goalie coach) Dustin Schwartz has done a great job with him. Skinner has spent the time here in the last two summers, really worked on his game, worked on his fitness, worked on his skating. Things you don’t think goaltenders normally work on, he’s put a lot of time and effort into that. He’s really willed himself to an NHL level. Now he just needs the opportunity.”
The Oilers practiced on Thursday with 11 forwards and seven defenceman. Warren Foegele, Kyle Turris, Tyler Benson and Slater Koekkoek remain in COVID protocol. Defenceman Kris Russell practiced but will not play. It’s not certain the Oilers will have 18 healthy skaters for the game against Ottawa.
“Still a question mark,” said Tippett. “We had a couple of guys we thought were going to test out of protocol. Koekkoek we thought we’d have yesterday but he’s still not out today. We got Benson and Foegele testing today. Hopefully, one of those guys tests out. We need one of those guys to test out to give up the opportunity to have a full lineup tomorrow.”
The Oilers and Senators will be on 630 CHED with the Face-off Show at 6:30 p.m. The game starts at 8 p.m.