Skinner, 23, is expected to be the number two goalkeeper on the team behind Jack Campbell this season.
“Mentally it feels great,” he said at Oilers training camp on Friday.
“I feel like it’s a huge challenge ahead of me, and I’m very excited about this challenge.”
After being drafted 78th overall in 2017, Skinner had to work his way up to becoming a full-time NHLer. His career ended in 2018 with a WHL Championship and a Memorial Cup appearance with Swift Current Broncos.
He later played for ECHL and AHL before making his NHL debut on January 31, 2021.
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“I’ve played a lot of games in the American (Hockey) League and the ECHL League,” Skinner explained. “I kind of worked my way up.
“It was a grinding process. It took a lot of hard work.”
Skinner won his first National Hockey League game, and it was his only appearance in the league that season. In 2021-22, he made 13 games for the Oilers and went 6-6 with 0.913 savings percentage. Having been one of the AHL’s best goalkeepers for the past two seasons, he is eager to prove that he belongs in the NHL.
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“I’m going to do everything I can to see what I can do in this league, to see how far I can go,” Skinner said.
“I will work as hard as I can to be the best goalkeeper, the best teammate and someone I can be.”
Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft also coached Skinner at Bakersfield. Woodcroft thinks Skinner should feel confident about next season.
“I’ve seen Stewart hit every stage of development along the way to get to this point,” the coach said. “He has established himself as a legitimate goalkeeper in the American Hockey League.
“I saw him grow as a hockey goalkeeper. I saw him grow as a person during that time. He is credited with all the hard work he puts in.”
The Oilers will continue their training camp on Saturday with a brawl at 11 a.m. at Rogers Place. It is open to the public as part of Fan Day.
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