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Stuart Skinner Appears to Have Lost Some of His Confidence

Edmonton Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner post-all-star break stats are not enough. A mental block and lack of confidence are holding him back.

The Edmonton Oilers bizarre season has continued. Stuart Skinner has been a key factor in the oddness of this season. From being a liability to breaking Grant Fuhr’s record, and back to being a liability, it has been an up-and-down campaign. The mental stress of the Oilers’ historic 16-game win streak compared to the pain of breaking that streak suggests Skinner has lost some of his confidence.

Skinner’s poor performance before Chris Knoblauch was overlooked by the even worse performance of Jack Campbell. During the first 16 games, he saw eight starts and one game where he came in relief of Campbell. In those games, Skinner had a 3.54 goals-against average packaged with a .861 save percentage. Not exactly NHL-caliber goaltending.

Stuart Skinner appears to have lost some confidence since the All-Star break

November 12th saw head coach Jay Woodcroft replaced by Knoblauch, and Skinner’s play was elevated. Consequently, from November 12th to January 27th, he had a 2.06 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage — astronomically better. During the Oilers win streak, he started 12 games and won all 12. During that stretch, Skinner had a 1.41 goals-against average and a .950 save percentage. Those were Vezina-caliber numbers. That was until the 3-1 loss against the Vegas Golden Knights, which ultimately ended the historic streak. 

The Mental Weight is on Stuart Skinner After All-Star Break

Edmonton’s first game post-All-Star break was the game against Vegas. For 16 days, the Oilers didn’t play, and it showed. Skinner’s first game back was a heartbreaking loss. Despite the loss, his play during the game was not subpar; he only let in two goals with a .920 save percentage. Unfortunately, Skinner seemed to lose some of that confidence he’d gained. The numbers got worse, posting a 3.46 goals-against average and a .880 save percentage post-all-star break. It seemed clear that loss had affected him mentally. 

Skinner’s poor stats are accompanied by even worse body language. The typically calm netminder appeared more antsy with every goal against him. He’s been taking a lot longer to get up, often looking up at the sky in confusion and disappointment. Unlike his previously composed self, he was slamming his stick after some goals. His body language indicates a person who is defeated. In addition, his insanely high workload has not helped. 

This isn’t the first time Skinner’s play has drastically dropped, and it definitely won’t be the last. It’s still important to look at the mental effect of that Vegas loss. Skinner needs a break to focus on getting his confidence back, which he will. However, Skinner is only 25 years old, and in his second season in the NHL, big losses are going to affect him more than veteran goalies. Undoubtedly, Skinner will bounce back and become an even stronger goalie mentally.

Edmonton Oilers fans do not give up on the hometown kid; he’s got this. 

Next: Bettman Scolds Morgan Riley and Upholds 5-Game Suspension

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