EDMONTON, AB – Goaltenders can sink or swim within the blue paint and Bakersfield Condors guardian Stuart Skinner treaded the tide simply positive in his third season with the group.
The Edmonton product started 2020-21 in Oil Nation and obtained his first profession Nationwide Hockey League victory at Rogers Place earlier than persevering with his growth in Condorstown, serving to Bakersfield rework an 0-5 begin right into a 24-14-0-1 regular-season file.
“He got here in, I consider it was the fourth recreation of our season, and actually calmed the waters again there,” Bakersfield Head Coach Jay Woodcroft stated. “Final yr he established himself as an American Hockey League on a regular basis goaltender, a No. 1 on this league, however we needed him to take the step to change into an elite goaltender at this stage.”
The towering keeper – deflecting pucks with a 6-foot-4, 206-pound body – was happy with his physique of labor when the horn sounded to cap the marketing campaign. Not solely did Skinner achieve a beneficial NHL expertise however the Condors additionally earned the John D. Chick Trophy as winners of the American Hockey League’s Pacific Division – with Skinner posting a 4-2 file within the playoffs.
“It was an all-around actually gratifying yr,” the puck-stopper, who led all AHL goalies with 20 wins, stated. “Having the ability to begin in Edmonton was a extremely good expertise for me after which coming down right here with the ability to have enjoyable, take pleasure in on daily basis with the fellows and attempt to work onerous actually panned out for us.”
Skinner materialized through the season and his progress was mirrored within the outcomes achieved over the irregular ’20-21 schedule. Because the wins mounted, so did the keeper’s confidence.
“Having the ability to play nicely within the (American Hockey) League is an efficient step shifting ahead whenever you need to play within the NHL,” Skinner stated. “It is a good step for myself individually this yr. On the similar time, I would not be right here with out the fellows enjoying as onerous as they did in entrance of me all yr spherical.”
The 78th-overall choice within the 2017 NHL Draft will return to Edmonton to proceed coaching with Goaltending Coach Dustin Schwartz over the summer time. After the stellar stretch, Skinner hopes to proceed pushing for a spot within the Oilers crease subsequent season.
“I’ll get again to work and lift the bar a bit,” he stated. “Attempt to work my method in order that I am hopefully prepared for the NHL.”