Yea, you heard that right.
While it looks like the goaltending has been solidified for at least the next 3 years with Cam Talbot and Laurent Brossoit, the team could have some serious help on the way in the coming years.
Team Canada has recently released the list of invitees to this year’s development camp for the 2018 World Junior Championships in Buffalo and, among the list of invites, Oiler draft picks Dylan Wells and Stuart Skinner made the cut. The duo make up half of the goaltenders invited, with Vancouver’s Michael Dipietro and Philadelphia’s Carter Hart being the other invites.
Wells was taken in the 5th round, 126th overall, by Edmonton in 2016; Skinner was taken 78th overall in last month’s Entry Draft in Chicago.
So, who are these goalies of the future? Let’s take a deeper look at what both have brought to the table thus far:
Team: Peterborough Petes
Birthdate: January 3rd, 1998 – 19 y/o
Height: 6 foot 2 inches
Weight: 182 lbs
2016/17 Statistics: 52GP 33W 15L 2T, 3.07 GAA .916sv%
When Dylan Wells was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in 2016 he was seen as a project player. He did not put up exceptionally good numbers in his draft year, picking up 9 wins in 27 games with the Petes and posting a subpar GAA and sv%. However, Director of Player Personnel, Bob Green said they saw something in his game that could develop. He had a fantastic Ivan Hlinka tournament, despite his poor OHL season, and that seemed to be enough for the Oilers to take a flyer on him.
One year later and it seems like the pick is paying off for the Oilers. The St. Catherines, Ontario native has seemingly overcome his previous battles with consistency and had himself a solid year with Peterborough. Putting up a winning record and helping the Petes to the top of the OHL’s Eastern Conference. This newfound consistency led Wells to have a career year in the OHL and earned him the reputation of being among the league’s best goaltenders. Becoming a calming presence in the blue-paint, he earned a spot on Team OHL in last year’s CIBC Canada/Russia Series.
Dylan Wells has gone from a long-term investment to a potential blue chip prospect between the pipes in only one year. This has scored him an invite to Team Canada’s WJC development camp this summer.
Team: Lethbridge Hurricanes
Birthdate: November 1st, 1998 – 18 y/0
Height: 6 foot 3 inches
2016/17 Statistics: 60GP 34W 16L 2T, 3.09GAA .906sv%
Ranked as the 7th best goalie available in this year’s draft by NHL.com, Stuart Skinner has the potential to be much more than just another 3rd round pick. While he did have a rather lacklustre rookie season in Lethbridge, only notching 13 wins in 43 games in the 2014/15 season, Skinner has done more than enough in the past two seasons to forget about that first year.
The story of Stuart Skinner’s emergence as a premier WHL goalie begins in 2015/16. Starting in almost the exact same amount of games as his rookie season, he was able to have much more successful numbers. Instead of putting up the previous year’s 13 wins, Skinner was able to secure a solid 27-10-1 record with the Hurricanes. Using his exceptional combination of athleticism and size were large factors in how he was able to rebound. With an impressive junior season under his belt, he was then tasked with duplicating a similar performance in his draft year.
During this past season, Skinner led Lethbridge to a third-round appearance in the WHL playoffs, losing out to the Regina Pats. Skinner had been solid all season long, picking up 34 wins in a career high 60 contests, and was able to finish 2nd among wins. He did regress when it came to his GAA and sv% but, that might have been a product of being the second most played goaltender in the dub.
Overall, Skinner has seen some major growth in the past two seasons. He went from a middle-of-the-pack goaltender to among one of the most reliable and trusted tenders in the Western Hockey League. He’s a big, mobile goalie who plays the butterfly style in an effective manner. One of the area’s that he has to work on is being more consistent with his play, something that usually comes with experience.
The future is bright with these two in the pipeline. While the current tandem of Cam Talbot and Laurent Brossoit is just blossoming, it is nice to have quality players right behind them.
The thought of having both goaltenders for Team Canada’s World Junior Championship roster in the Oilers organization has got to be exciting! Now, while this development camp is not the selection camp it, at the very least, tells us that both Wells and Skinner are on Canada’s radar. They have some stiff competition with Michael Dipietro and Carter Hart also being invited but, nonetheless, I think we can all agree that exciting times are ahead for the future of goaltenders in Edmonton!
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What do you think of Dylan Wells and Stuart Skinner? Are they legitimate Team Canada contenders?
Let me know what you think in the comments!