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Jack Campbell’s Leash Short With Oilers, Trade Already on Radar

Jack Campbell’s future in Edmonton remains uncertain as his early performance dictates how quickly the Oilers look at trade options.

Even though the 2023-24 season hasn’t started and Jack Campbell will likely get a chance to prove himself again with the Edmonton Oilers, his future with the team appears to hang in the balance, as his performance in the upcoming season could influence the team’s early goaltending decisions. Allan Mitchell from The Athletic suggests that if Campbell’s consistency wavers again, the Oilers might explore alternative options to shore up their goaltending situation.

Mitchell’s projections lean toward Stuart Skinner securing the primary goaltending position, which could relegate Campbell to a supporting role. Any real struggles by Campbell could lead to the Oilers quickly looking around the trade market. He writes, “If Campbell struggles again, it’s possible the Oilers move him out in favor of a more consistent option.”

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Frankly, if things get really bad and a trade isn’t easy to navigate — due to Campbell’s salary and the term remaining on his deal — Mitchell wonders if the Oilers will call upon Olivier Rodrigue who is in their minor league system and showcasing a promising future for the Oilers’ netminding lineup.

Stuart Skinner Jack Campbell Edmonton Oilers goalies
Stuart Skinner Jack Campbell Edmonton Oilers goalies

Campbell’s journey with the Oilers began amid high expectations after his 2022 NHL All-Star recognition. He signed a big free-agent deal and struggled to live up to it. There were times his game looked strong — including a nine-game winning streak from January to February which propelled the Oilers up the division ranks — but his inconsistency and talk of his mental hardship to maintain a certain level had fans worried.

Campbell played a pivotal role in orchestrating a comeback overtime victory in Game 4 against the Los Angeles Kings, but he didn’t see the playoffs much, the Oilers feeling more confident in Skinner. Campbell’s 27 saves out of 28 shots solidified his reputation as a game-changer for the team, but there are still questions coming into this season if he’s good enough to make the Oilers a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.

What Are the Trade Options For the Oilers?

Connor Hellebuyck, John Gibson, and others are still out there and their respective teams are shopping these veterans in the hopes of avoiding both jumping to another team as free agents next summer. As is, the Oilers don’t have the cap room to add either player, at least not without moving Campbell first.

Should the Oilers feel the need to call either team, it’s likely because they’re in desperate need of an upgrade, which isn’t great when it comes to negotiating power. Not only would the Oilers need to dump Campbell for no return, they’d have to add a considerable sweetener to do so.

The hope in Edmonton is that none of this is necessary. A strong season from both Campbell and Skinner eases the tension when it comes to the goaltender issues and it puts the Oilers in the conversation as legitimate Cup favorites.

Next: Failed 2016 Canadiens and Oilers Trade Surely Reshapes Both Teams

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