The Edmonton Oilers seem to have found their confidence after starting the season like a team with no chemistry and no experience. One of their main issues has been their less-than-stellar goaltending.
Their expected starter, Jack Campbell, was sent down to the Bakersfield Condors of the American Hockey League (AHL) on Nov. 8 after a rough start and hasn’t been much better. While Stuart Skinner hasn’t been at his best, he has been strong enough to keep the starting job for the foreseeable future, but the Oilers’ overall goaltending worries have opened up possible trade conversations.
During the “Saturday Headlines” segment of Hockey Night in Canada over the weekend, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman revealed that the Oilers are actively exploring the goalie market and have shown interest in the Montreal Canadiens’ trio of goaltenders. While Friedman didn’t believe a deal was imminent, he mentioned the logjam in net may force the Canadiens to move one of them as Cayden Primeau, Sam Montembault, and Jake Allen can all play at the NHL level, but can’t dress every night.
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The Oilers fell 6-4 to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday (Nov. 19) afternoon. While it was a close game, they outshot the Lightning 43-24 and still lost by two. Many fans were quick to point the finger at Skinner, and for the first time, it may have been justified even if any goalie can have an off night. Unfortunately, the Oilers can’t afford to wait and see if Skinner can find the confidence he had last season. They need to find a solution fast.
Who’s The Habs Trio & Who Would Be The Best Option?
Allen and Montembault have each played eight games, while Primeau has only appeared in three. In those eight games, Allen has a .907 save percentage (SV%) and a 3.54 goals-against average (GAA), while Montembault has a .908 SV% with a 2.78 GAA. In three games, Primeau has a .885 SV% and a 3.97 GAA. While all of them have been decent, none of their stats stand out as the possible starting goalie who could solve the Oilers’ issues.
Primeau is the youngest of the three at 24 years old, Montembault is three years older at 27, and Allen is the veteran of the group at 33. If the Oilers are looking for a solution this season, the logical choice would be to inquire about Allen who hasn’t been the best goalie for the Habs this season but has been stronger than both Skinner and Campbell and could be the Oilers’ starter to finish out the season.
A duo of Allen and Skinner would be ideal. However, there are a few issues with bringing in Allen, including his cap hit and working around his modified no-trade clause. His cap hit of $3.85 million through the 2024-25 season is affordable, but the Oilers have no money to work with, so they would have to be willing to move some contracts to fit him under the cap. Ideally, they would move Cody Ceci and Vincent Desharnais, and that should make the money work, assuming Allen is interested in playing in Edmonton.
What’s Next For The Oilers?
The Oilers are back in action on Monday (Nov. 20) in a battle with the Florida Panthers. Skinner will likely get the start, but I’m assuming Calvin Pickard will get his opportunity soon enough, especially if Campbell continues to struggle in the AHL. However, the Oilers will have to make a move for a goalie sooner rather than later if they hope to find their way out of the hole they’ve dug for themselves this season.