Lowetide: Are the Oilers suddenly able to develop their own goalies?

The Edmonton Oilers’ history of drafting and developing successful NHL goaltenders is shockingly short.

The names of men drafted by the organization as teenagers, developed by the club before reaching the NHL and passing 100 games is a universe of three: Andy Moog (drafted in 1980), Grant Fuhr (1981) and Devan Dubnyk (2004).

Despite early-season struggles, Stuart Skinner is destined to be the fourth member of an incredibly small club.

How long will the Oilers have to wait for the fifth?

Turns out the answer might be almost no time at all.

Dustin Schwartz

Before looking at the current state of the team’s goaltending, a quick word on one of the most maligned assistant coaches in captivity. Dustin Schwartz has been the Oilers’ goalie coach since midway through the 2014-15 season. He can reasonably be credited with helping Laurent Brossoit (he would have helped him when both were in junior with the Edmonton Oil Kings), Cam Talbot (who led Edmonton to a strong season and postseason in 2016-17) and Skinner (he was a finalist for the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year in the NHL last season).

Schwartz was also present during successful runs for Mike Smith and Mikko Koskinen.

The goalie coach is under the gun due to Edmonton’s underperforming goaltenders in 2023-24, but it’s a stretch to blame the goalie coach for poor play in such a small sample.

Schwartz, along with AHL goalie coach Sylvain Rodrigue, have had some success in turning out goaltenders.

Skinner is the best example.

Olivier Rodrigue, who is the son of Sylvain Rodrigue, is building a strong resume.

Many Oilers fans believe the current draft and development model is poor, but the evidence suggests the current template is the best since the halcyon days of Moog and Fuhr.

The numbers

Edmonton doesn’t spend high picks on goaltenders. Only twice in the team’s history (Fuhr, No. 8 in 1981 and Dubnyk, No. 14 in 2004) has a top-20 selection been used on a stopper.

Since 2010, Edmonton’s general managers and scouting directors have entered the goalie marketplace cautiously and with mixed results.

Player Draft No. and Yr. Highest Level

Tyler Bunz

No. 121, 2010

1 NHL game

Samu Perhonen

No.62, 2011


Frans Tuohimaa

No. 182, 2011


Zach Nagelvoort

No. 111, 2014


Keven Bouchard

No. 183, 2014

Junior (QMJHL)

Miroslav Svoboda

No. 208, 2015


Dylan Wells

No. 123, 2016

1 NHL game

Stuart Skinner

No. 78, 2017

72 NHL games

Olivier Rodrigue

No. 62, 2018


Ilya Konovalov

No. 85, 2019


Samuel Jonsson

No. 158, 2022


Nathaniel Day

No. 184, 2023

Junior (OHL)

If the Oilers ever become a goalie factory, the Skinner selection might represent the turning point. He was the highest pick used on a goalie in six years, clearly a target (general manager Peter Chiarelli traded up to get him) and he spiked during his entry-level deal. Comparing Skinner’s pro trajectory and Rodrigue’s progress bodes well for the future.

Year Stuart Skinner Olivier Rodrigue

1st Yr Pro

41GP, .903 SP (ECHL)

11GP, .894 (AHL)

2nd Yr Pro

41 GP, .892 (AHL)

13GP, .886 (AHL)

3rd Yr Pro

31 GP, .914 (AHL)

29 GP, .912 (AHL)

4th Yr Pro

35GP, .920 (AHL)

2GP, .968 (AHL)

5th Yr Pro

50GP, .914 (NHL)

Rodrigue is posting comparable numbers to Skinner, who was a finalist in the Calder voting one year ago.

That’s very good company.

Although Skinner has struggled so far this season, he won the starting job during the 2022-23 season and has kept it for a calendar year.

The entire pro depth chart

The Oilers’ depth chart in net at the pro level has some short-term concerns along with long-term promise. Here’s a look at the entire group as of Saturday.

Player League GP SP


















The recall of Calvin Pickard and the demotion of Jack Campbell is a good time to examine the entire pro depth chart closely.

Skinner is a young goaltender who built a solid pro resume before the bump in the road he is experiencing this season. The Oilers would be wise to stay the course with him and can learn that lesson by looking back to the Dubnyk situation.

In the year Dubnyk was traded, the Oilers instituted a new defensive system (swarm) under then-coach Dallas Eakins.

Theories vary on what went wrong, but it was clear at the time that the defencemen on the roster were unable to execute the plan well enough to win games.

Dubnyk was left alone much of the time. At the time of his trade in January 2014, Dubnyk owned an .894 save percentage. He would enjoy nine more seasons of productive player after being traded by Edmonton.

The appeal of a Skinner-Rodrigue tandem

Skinner will need to straighten up this season and maintain his starting gig, but Rodrigue is building the kind of resume that could see him win the backup job in 2024-25 for Edmonton.

That will be important for the Oilers, as the cap issues will loom large if buying out Campbell in the offseason becomes necessary.

Skinner’s cap hit for next season ($2.6 million) with an extension for Rodrigue under $1 million would be an affordable, in-house solution.

Buying out Campbell would save $3.9 million on the 2024-25 cap, but the organization would be paying him out through the end of the 2029-30 season.

Are the Oilers a goalie factory?

The Oilers have never been a goalie factory, unless you count the period when Fuhr and Moog were emerging at the same time and Edmonton eventually sent veteran Ron Low to the New Jersey Devils in February 1983.

The organization badly needs Skinner to do what he did one year ago. When Campbell struggled in 2022-23, it was Skinner who stepped up and helped the team by providing consistent goaltending.

If Rodrigue can fill the backup role for less than $1 million, and the general manager can offload Campbell in a trade, the Oilers could have an efficient, homegrown solution in net for the first time since Dubnyk and Jeff Deslauriers in 2009-10.

The future

Samuel Jonsson (2022 draft) and Nathaniel Day (2023) are bubbling under, both men later picks taken in an area of the draft where goalies aren’t expected to develop into NHL players.

Skinner and Rodrigue are the young talents in the organization who could solve a problem Edmonton’s general managers often solve outside the organization.

Two internal solutions, at an excellent cap price, would be ideal in 2024-25.

(Photo of Olivier Rodrigue: Perry Nelson / USA Today)

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