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Pickard to start in goal for Oilers against host Panthers

The call-up will start Monday in goal for the Edmonton Oilers.

Calvin Pickard will take the net for the opening faceoff against the host Florida Panthers, head coach Kris Knoblauch said, as the 5-10-1 Oilers, 6-4 losers on Saturday at Tampa Bay, play their second of a four-game road trip in the eastern U.S.

Knoblauch told reporters while he hasn’t yet seen Pickard in action this year, the rundowns he’s received on the goalie called up from the American Hockey League 12 days ago to replace Jack Campbell as the second netminder in the Oilers’ tandem with Stuart Skinner have been positive.

“The reports on him in Bakersfield (AHL Condors) is he’s playing really strong and playing really well,” said Knoblauch, who assumed the Oilers’ coaching reins a week ago after Edmonton fired Jay Woodcroft and has led the team to a 2-1 record since. “Hopefully, he can continue that and bring that confidence and just play the way he’s been playing.”

Pickard has a 2-2 record in Bakersfield this season with a .939 save percentage and a 2.03 goals-against average.

Monday’s game in Sunrise, Fla., against the 11-5-1 Panthers will be Pickard’s first NHL action since March 27, 2022, when he played for the Detroit Red Wings. He last started a game in January that year for Detroit, stopping 38 shots in a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Oilers are Pickard’s sixth National Hockey League team. The 31-year-old has played 116 career NHL games since being drafted in 2010 by the Colorado Avalanche.

Pickard said Sunday he’s been trying to stay prepared for his next opportunity to play in the big leagues.

“You’ve got to take advantage of the practices, for sure, morning skates as well, making sure you’re ready to go with if called upon, and working on my technical game and facing a lot of rubber in practice, too,,” Pickard told reporters.


Knoblauch said defenceman Philip Broberg will dress against the Panthers, giving the Oilers seven players on the blueline to go with 11 forwards instead of the more common six and 12 mix.

Broberg, who’s played eight games for Edmonton this season, has yet to score a point for the the Oilers in 2023-24. The 2019 first-round pick, eighth overall, has two assists in four AHL games with the Condors.

In 46 games for the Oilers last season, he recorded one goal and seven assists. 

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