Skinner, 23, is expected to be the team’s No. 2 goalie behind Jack Campbell this season.
“It feels great mentally,” he said at the Oilers’ training camp on Friday.
“I feel like it’s a big challenge in front of me, and I’m really excited for that challenge.”
After being drafted 78th overall in 2017, Skinner has had to work his way up to being a full-time NHLer. His junior career ended in 2018 with a WHL championship and Memorial Cup appearance with the Swift Current Broncos.
He later played in the ECHL and AHL before making his NHL debut on Jan. 31, 2021.
“I’ve got a lot of games in the American (Hockey) League and the ECHL,” Skinner explained. “I’ve kind of worked my way up.
“It’s been a grind. It’s taken a lot of hard work.”
Skinner won that first NHL game, his only appearance in the league that season. In 2021-22, he got into 13 games with the Oilers and went 6-6 with a .913 save percentage. After being one of the AHL’s top goalies the last two seasons, he’s eager to prove he belongs in the NHL.
“I’m going to do everything I can to see what I’m capable of in this league, to see how far I can go,” Skinner said.
“I’m going to work as hard as I possibly can to be the best goalie and the best teammate and person I can be.”
Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft also coached Skinner in Bakersfield. Woodcroft believes Skinner should feel confident about the upcoming season.
“I’ve seen Stuart hit every developmental stage along the way to get this point,” the coach said. “He established himself as a legit starting goaltender in the American Hockey League.
“I saw him grow as a hockey goaltender. I saw him grow as a person over that time. It’s a credit to all the hard work he’s put in.”
The Oilers will continue training camp on Saturday with a scrimmage at 11 a.m. at Rogers Place. It’s open to the public as part of Fan Day.
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