Oilers Skinner excited about his first full-time role in the NHL with his hometown team

Edmonton – stew.

It’s the strangest tandem, when you think about it.

Keep in mind that no one has both soup and stew, right? You have one, or you have the other.

Well, the Edmonton Oilers have both as a tandem in goalkeeping this year: rookie Jack (Soobie) Campbell, and Stewart (Stu) Skinner as backup.

And when we say “backup,” we’re talking about a 23-year-old rookie who has just 14 NHL games under his belt. This fall kicks off a season that will be required to start up to 30 matches.


Fans might look at it that way.

He said from under a world-class moustache – the kind that Wendell Clark and Paul McClean would be proud of. “Obviously, I tasted it a bit last year and I’m fine just going to do what I did last year.”

You’ve heard Skinner’s story: The youngest of nine children, all of their names begin with an “S”. He grew up in the Edmonton neighborhood of Riverbend, and went to high school in Louis Saint Laurent, just south of Whitemaud Highway.

Some players succeed in playing in their hometown. Others – with all family and friends in their orbit – struggle with ticket requests, dinners, invitations…

In a market where even the fourth line stand of a restaurant is noted, Skinner has an indoor fan club sitting around the Thanksgiving dinner table.

“You know, I have one job,” he said. “This is to stop the puck puck, and that’s what I’m going to do. Then I’ll go home to get some good food, and sleep.”

Westo soup. The last part of that equation looks like real meat and potatoes.

Maybe his best?

“His physical size,” said Oilers guard coach Dustin Schwartz. “You can’t teach that. It’s six feet four and thick – it takes up a lot of space there.”

Growing up, Skinner’s hero was Dwayne Rawlson. Skinner was in the second division when Rawson was taking the Oilers to the 2006 Stanley Cup Final versus the Carolinas.

“I remember growing up, by fifth grade I was trying to tell the teachers I wanted the same pads he used. He was by far the coolest guy in my mind, growing up.”

Roloson didn’t play in Edmonton for long – just over three seasons of a 14-year career – and arrived later in his life. Skinner enters the chat as a drafted and developed Oiler, a third-round pick who could turn out to be a true NHL goalkeeper in the long run.

But you know what they say about goalkeepers…

You don’t know if they are NHL goalkeepers until you play them in the NHL. Then find out.

“I mean, I’d say I know,” Skinner said. “But I think no one really knows what anything will be like in the future. However, I will do everything I can to see what I can do in this league, and to see how far I can go.

“I will work as hard as I can to be the best goalkeeper, the best teammate and the best person I can be for all these years.”

How is this a place to start? Besides the good man in Campbell’s career, the Oilers might have the nicest NHL tandem to go out to dinner with. Then add the fact that Skinner has been properly seasoned — five seasons in the Western Hockey League, another in the ECHL and three more with AHL Bakersfield — and you have a man who totally deserves to be in his current spot.

Coach Jay Woodcroft said he plans to give Campbell a “50-55” start. This leaves somewhere in the 27-32 range for Skinner.

Schwartz allowed: “At the end of the day, he has to answer a few things, as much as he can handle.” “I think he proved that in the 14 games he played he had the skills and the ability to play here.

“He had some ups and downs in the start he got at the NHL level. I think that experience is invaluable. Now he just has to go out there and do it.”

Could Thatcher Be Demko?

Will it be Laurent Broisswett?

No one can tell you that they know what Stuart Skinner’s ceiling is now.

So let’s sit back and find out.

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