It’s time for the next installment of our 2020 Top 25 Under 25. We’ve finished the 20s, it’s on to the teens. Today, we turn our eyes to the crease.
Stuart Skinner is the first goaltender in our 2020 edition of our Top 25 under 25, where he checks in at 19th overall. Let’s see how the panel voted.
Skinner has hovered around the number 19 spot for his entire Oilers career. We had him ranked 19th in 2019 and 18th in 2018. He hasn’t gained a spot on our countdown, but he’s importantly held his ground. He’ll need to make inroads this upcoming season if he’s going to see the Top 25 in 2021. The good news for Skinner is that the future of Oilers’ goaltending is wide open, though there’s plenty of competition coming soon.
Skinner was selected by the Oilers in the third round (78th overall) of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. He spent most of his junior career in Lethbridge with the Hurricanes before finishing being dealt to Swift Current midway through the 2017-18 season Skinner impressed with the Hurricanes, most notably during 2015-16 when he chalked up a .920 SV% en route to a 27-10-1 season
Skinner signed his entry level deal in May of 2018. He had just backstopped the Swift Current Broncos to a Memorial Cup Championship over the Everett Silvertips after appearing in 26 playoff games. It’s easy to see why the Oilers selected him after a standout year like 2017-18.
The recently-turned 22 years old native Edmontonian is coming off a season that saw him lead duties with 41 starts in Bakersfield, his results were chequered. Skinner finished with a .892 SV% on the season along with a 16-17-6 record, a 3.31 goals against average and one shutout. Skinner’s SV% ranks him 45th among eligible AHL goaltenders, he’ll have to improve on those numbers in 2020-21 if he’s in it for the long haul.
SKINNER AT #19
Skinner is coming up on a contact year in 2020-21, and he’ll want to make some noise in between the crease to get in on that next deal. It’s entirely plausible that Skinner grabs the reins and makes magic happen when the Condors start playing again, but there will be some big time competition from some other netminders within the system including Olivier Rodrigue (2nd round, 2018) and Ilya Konovalov (3rd round, 2019), who is doing well over in Yaroslavl. A dark horse entry is Dylan Wells (5th round, 2016) who finished just outside this year’s Top 25 at 26th overall.
Don’t forget this year’s offseason acquisition Anton Forsberg, who could very well be the first callup for the Oilers if things go sideways in net on the big club. By my count, that’s four other prospective goaltenders who will be looking for as many minutes as possible, which could cramp Skinner’s style if things don’t go just right.
How many heads can Skinner turn during next camp? He’ll almost have to make a case early and build up a head of steam prior to the start of the 2020-21 AHL season. A good start will do wonders for Skinner, anything less would not be recommended.