It’s been a good 24 hours for Stuart Skinner. The 19-year old goaltender for the Swift Current Broncos won the WHL Championship last night, and today has signed his three-year entry-level contract with the Edmonton Oilers.
Skinner, the Oilers’ third-round pick in 2017, posted an incredible .932 save percentage in the postseason for Swift Current, including six shutouts en route to the title. He’ll now play in the upcoming Memorial Cup, before likely heading to development camp in the summer. The big goaltender is a very interesting prospect and could represent the team’s future in net, though he still has several jumps to make in his development.
The Oilers don’t have a clear succession plan in place for their goaltending situation, with Cam Talbot scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. While they signed Mikko Koskinen out of the KHL recently, he’s also on just a one-year deal and will be a UFA in 2019. Behind those two, who figure to be the NHL tandem in 2018-19, there is a group of goaltenders including Laurent Brossoit and Nick Ellis who have all failed to show anything that would make one believe they can handle a starting job in the NHL. Brossoit is actually a UFA this summer, and doesn’t look like he’ll be retained at all.
Fellow CHL prospect Dylan Wells struggled this season in Peterborough, and is a long-shot to make a real impact at the NHL level. That leaves Skinner as the best goaltending prospect in the system, and one that will be watched carefully over the next few years. If he shows that his recent playoff performance can be repeated next season in the WHL, perhaps the team won’t have to go out and acquire another long-term option in net, instead just re-signing Talbot and hoping Skinner can make the team before long.