With the Oilers on the outside of the playoffs looking in this spring, there isn’t much to talk about in Oil Country. As a result, a rumour about the Oilers reportedly gearing up to sign KHL goalie Mikko Koskinen to a two-year deal has become the biggest point of conversation around the team this week.
Koskinen was drafted by the New York Islanders back in 2009 with the 31st overall pick. He never suck as a goalie in the NHL, went back to Europe, and, in recent years has become one of the KHL’s best goalies. He helped SKA St. Petersburg to to the Gagarin Cup in 2017, posted a .937 save percentage during the regular season this year, and was excellent in net for Finland at the Olympics in Pyeongchang.
That brings us to this week’s What Would You Do Wednesday question(s). Would you be OK with the Oilers brining in Koskinen as their backup, 1B goalie next year? Are you OK with the reported $2.5 million cap hit he might be signing for? If not, which goalie in free agency should the Oilers acquire? Was Cam Talbot’s rough year an anomaly or do the Oilers badly need a strong fallback option heading into the 2018-19 season?
There’s no doubt that Koskinen was good in the KHL. There’s certainly some merit to taking a risk on him as he could be an excellent late-bloomer, much like his potential teammate Talbot was. That said, the KHL is nowhere near the calibre of the NHL. Anders Nilsson posted a .936 save percentage in the KHL before signing with the Oilers and was just a mediocre backup in Edmonton. Obviously the Oilers have had scouts watching Koskinen this year and more goes into this decision than simply looking at his numbers and then comparing them to another guy’s numbers, of course.
But if the Oilers feel they need somebody who can take on a bigger workload than we’ve seen in the previous couple of years, why don’t they grab somebody with more NHL experience? If Koskinen doesn’t pan out, they’re back in the exact same situation they were in with Jonas Gustavsson, who, once upon a time, was the best goalie not in the NHL.
The free agent market isn’t loaded with big names, but there are a handful of goalies with solid pedigree. Jonathan Bernier and Jaroslav Halak are free agents and have played starting roles before, Anton Khudobin and Carter Hutton were two of the better backup goalies in the league last season, and Cam Ward is a local boy with a load of NHL experience. Again, none of these are perfect players, by any stretch, but I feel all five are closer to a sure thing than Koskinen is at this point.
What say you, Nation? Who’s the best fit for the Oilers on the open market? Is it Koskinen? Or is it somebody else?
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