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Photo Credit: Tomi Hanninen

Oilers sign Mikko Koskinen to a one-year contract with $2.5 million AAV

According to the Oilers’ Twitter account, Mikko Koskinen has officially signed a one-year contract with the team that will see him return to North America after wrapping up a stellar season in the KHL. 

While rumours initially circled the Twittersphere that Koskinen would be signing a multi-year deal, the official word tells a different story. With a one-year contract now in his pocket, the Finnish netminder will have a season to prove himself and try to carve out a spot for himself with the Oilers, beating out Al Montoya for the backup spot with the club.

Koskinen, a former second-round pick with the Islanders in 2009, spent the last five seasons in the KHL after heading back to Europe with only four NHL games on his resume. In 31 regular season games played with St. Petersburg SKA last season, Koskinen posted a very nice .931 save percentage to go along with a 1.69 GAA. Now, while those numbers are certainly impressive it will remain to be seen how that will translate in the NHL. Remember, Anders Nilsson was also a top KHL goaltender the year before he returned to the NHL after registering a splendid .936 save percentage in 38 games played.

So who is Mikko Koskinen? Cam Lewis took a look at the gigantic goaltender when rumours first started to surface that the Oilers were leading contenders to sign him:

Koskinen was originally drafted by the New York Islanders with the 31st overall pick in the 2009 draft. He would eventually play four games with the Islanders during the 2010-11 season, posting a forgettable .873 save percentage. He would play three games in North America in 2011-12 before heading back to Europe and fading into oblivion.

But, over the past couple years, Koskinen has made a name for himself as one of the top goalies in the KHL. This year has really been Koskinen’s breakout season. He posted a .931 save percentage in 31 games for SKA St. Petersburg, who are currently in the league’s Conference Finals. Beyond that, he also capitalized on NHL players not being in the Olympics, posting a .932 save percentage in five games in Pyeongchang for Finland.

Last week, Jason Gregor received a text from a scout that said, “he was a lot more controlled and stable this season. He doesn’t sprawl around like he did in the past.” At face value, that sounds positive and when combined with his recent KHL success it looks like the Oilers made a reasonable bet, but we still don’t know what the cap hit will be and also what he can do in the NHL.

***UPDATE****

According to Pierre LeBrun, Koskinen’s deal is worth $2.5 million with a $2 million salary and a $500K signing bonus.

THE WRAP

From where I blog, signing Mikko Koskinen after a lights-out season in the KHL makes sense for a team looking for upgrades in net. That said, let’s not pretend that the KHL is even a five-dollar cab ride away from the NHL in terms of overall skill so I think it’s unreasonable to expect the same level of success in Edmonton as he got in St. Petersburg. Like I said before, we’ve seen this movie play out with Anders Nilsson before and while I hope things work out differently with Koskinen, we don’t know what will happen until the guy starts getting some at-bats. Here’s hoping the guy can come in and stand on his head and make all of this “unproven” talk go away, but until we get to October all we can do is guess. All the best, Mikko. Do the hockey, buddy.

What do you guys think? Do you like the signing? Let me know in the comments section.

KOSKINEN’S KHL CAREER

Season Team Lge GP Min GA EN SO GAA W L T Svs Pct
2013-14 Novosibirsk Sibir KHL 41 2361 67 0 3 1.70 20 11 8 1030 0.939
2014-15 Novosibirsk Sibir KHL 29 1564 58 0 3 2.22 16 11 1 676 0.921
2014-15 St. Petersburg SKA KHL 21 1270 40 0 1 1.89 9 8 2 506 0.927
2015-16 St. Petersburg SKA KHL 41 2379 96 0 3 2.42 20 18 0 1034 0.915
2016-17 St. Petersburg SKA KHL 23 1387 48 0 3 2.08 14 6 3 524 0.916
2017-18 St. Petersburg SKA KHL 31 1845 52 0 5 1.69 24 4 1 703 0.931
2017-18p St. Petersburg SKA KHL 4 254 8 0 1 1.89 4 0 0 76 0.905
NHL Totals   4       0 4.33 2 1 0   0.873

Source: Edmonton Oilers, Verified Twitter Account, 5/1/2018 – 10:59 am MST

  • Braindead

    Let’s no forget that Mikko Koskinen was playing for Vladimir Putin’s team. What kind of lowelife would work for that guy. Mikko Koskinen can go to hell.

  • LAKID

    The Oiler’s still don’t have proven #1 goaltender. How many back up goalies do the Oiler’s have now four? Talbot, Montoya, LB and now Koskinen. I hope Koskinen proves to be the real deal because we need a starter. The Oiler’s seem to be going into next season with poor goaltending once again and I can’t understand Chia’s reasoning because his future is riding on it.

    • PandaBearJelly

      And who is this true number one that’s available? Not a lot of teams trading away clear cut starters, and 3ven if there were, who are we trading to get them? And once we trade away that asset, who are we trading to get the top 6 winger we need, or the right shot offensive d-man? Its not as simple as you make it sound.

      Let’s also not forget that one season ago, Talbot was one of the top goaltenders in the leauge. Sure he was pretty garbage for half the season, but he did seem to be returning to form towards the end.

      I don’t disagree that it would be nice to have upgrades. I just don’t see how we actually get those upgrades.

  • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

    hahahahahaha

    HaHaHaHaHaHa

    HAHAHAHAHAHA

    And THIS was a better option than trying to acquire Hutton, Ward, or Pickard! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Watch him be traded mid-season

      • crabman

        1. Hutton is an UFA and until he is signed somewhere he is available.
        2. I agree with you on Ward. hard pass for me
        3. Pickard has played 87 NHL games over part of 4 seasons. has a career 2.78 gaa and .913 s% in the NHL. good numbers for a potential backup and at only 26 possible upside. He would more than likely cost less than Koskinen as well. Those sound like good reasons to me to consider Pickard instead.

        • abbeef

          1. Hutton will probably sign somewhere where he can start or stay in STL very risky waiting for him if you want to upgrade goaltending.
          2. We agree
          3. Pickard has similar numbers to Montoya from the past 3 years. Chia is hoping Koskinen will be better.

          This is a gamble as well but he has Montoya as a third option. The only problem i see is he overpaid by a million.

      • crabman

        If they were willing to pay him his asking price, whatever that is, why wouldn’t he. Talbot is in the last year of his contract and just had a down year. I think Talbot will bounce back but if I was Hutton and another team didn’t offer me a starting job right now I would consider a backup role for the Oilers. Out of all the starting jobs, Talbot’s might be the one primed to be stolen. There are only 31 starter jobs in the league and if Hutton wants to get a shot at starting there are very few potential opportunities for him.

        I wouldn’t be pursuing him unless he was still coming in on a low dollar low term deal. He is coming off a career year at the age of 32. He is a backup capable of playing a lot of games if needed but outside of this season he has been average at best.

  • Hickster94

    Excellent. Step 1; Sign SKA Saint Petersburg‘s starting goaltender. Step 2; Get him to convince SKA Saint Petersburg‘s leading scorer to sign with the Oilers (Ilya Kovalchuk!!!)

  • Messier11

    Chiarelli is a pure, unadulterated idiot with this signing. The previous comment about Scrivens is salient to this discussion along with recognizing that the KHL is NOT the NHL. While it is true that we may have challenges plucking RFA’s like Grubauer away from their teams, there are also UFA’s like Khudobin and Hutton out there. Can we sign them? I would like to say yes, but Chiarelli is too much of a twit to get the job done. I would rather have given Khudobin or Hutton $3.0M a year or something less with a performance bonus and save $1M on Montoya by sending him to the Condors. Along with the fact that Chiarelli and our management braintrust (or lack thereof) continue to think that Dustin Schwartz is a good goal coach, this new signing shows that once again this moron of a GM doesn’t realize how important it is too shore up this position. Chiarelli is clueless and absolutely too willing to accept mediocrity.

  • TKB2677

    Being an Oilers fan is really tough. You are in a Canadian market where supposedly the fan base is intelligent hockey fans, then you come to places like this and realize there are lots of Oilers fans who really aren’t that knowledgeable at all.

    Anyone suggesting the Oilers were going to go and get Carter Hutton clearly have ZERO hockey intelligence. In the 2016-2017 season with the Blues he played in 30 games, was 13-8-2, 4 shut outs, .913%, 2.39 GA. Pretty damn good numbers, borderline starters numbers. This year after Allen faultered AGAIN, in 32 games, he was 17-7-3, 3 shut outs, .931% and 2.09 GA. If the guy has more starts, those are vezina numbers. So the Blues would be beyond stupid to let him go. IF he does go, some team is going to offer him their starters job. The guy is going go get paid and paid a lot more than 2.5 mill. If you don’t know that, you are clearly clueless.

    Then I see someone suggesting Cam Ward. Other than being raised in Sherwood Park, there is absolutely NOTHING appealing about Ward. He’s 34 yrs old and hasn’t post an above .910% in the last 6 SEASONS. He was .906% this year. Why the hell would anyone who knows anything about hockey suggest the Oilers should bring in a 34 yr old goalie who can’t be better than .910? People are complaining about Talbot’s .908 this season being crap yet some people think bringing in Ward who was .906 this season and .905 last year is a good idea? WOW.

    • Serious Gord

      good take.

      So talbot is getting $4MM and is expected to play 55 or so games (plus playoffs(and this backup is getting $2.5MM with no history with the team and play maybe 25 games. By that simple comparison it’s an over pay on the backup.

    • CRONENBERG

      Looking for validation by standing on a pedestal. “You’re all so dumb. I’m so smart. Now that we’ve gotten THAT out of the way, let me give you my opinion.” Get bent bud.

    • Finnaggled

      You’re not allowed to trash the commenters, when you’re the first person to comment. But hopefully this medium has provided a good outlet for your anger.

    • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

      You’re right. I think we’ve allowed the failure of last season to go to our heads. I’m thinking it over and it’s probably not a bad idea. Only concern I have is what if Montoya outplays Mikko?

      • OilerForLife

        If Montoya outplays Mikko,then off to the farm – nothing ventured gained. On a 1 year deal with less risk then what else is out there, and if he is the real deal backup then high -five, and re-sign.

        It beats picking up an aging, declining, NMC castaway of a free agent who will laugh all the way to bank on a multi-year deal.

    • Anton CP

      You have just realized that by now? They are those who complains about the team’s performances and yet still filling the seats with the league second highest ticket price to watch them fail year after year. They are obsessed with the terribleness of the Oilers, it is a twisted love that they don’t want the team to be better.

    • abbeef

      No kidding, a bunch of cry babies here.
      Last year : “Talbot for Vezina”
      This year: After a bad half season “Talbot’s a backup we don’t even have a starter.”
      It’s like hearing a bunch 13 year old girl’s talking.

      • GK1980

        Negativity is the wrong word. This fan base has suffered long enough and demand success. The city deserves some winning seasons here. I for one give this team two months this year and if they don’t prove they can play by the end of November I will watch elsewhere. For the sake of loving the actual game I can’t let this organization ruin my passion for this game.

  • CWBJuuu

    He should be a good backup to Talbot, although the salary is high. I’m not sure why people are concerned about Talbot, he’s proven throughout his career to be a consistent high end NHL goalie. Parts of this season were not great, but every goalie has slumps. Good signing but now we have to get rid of the Montoya contract.

  • btrain

    The best calculated risk in this scenario was to do nothing. Montoya was a .912 or better for the 2 season prior to this past. Additionally, in his 9 seasons getting NHL action he has had a losing record only twice. Whereas Talbot was .925 over his previous 4 seasons. By simply returning to their own averages, the Oilers have an above average duo that generally wins more than they lose.
    Sick of this small sample size panic button pressing organization. That 2 mill would have improved save percentage a lot more if it was used towards a defensemen.

    • RJ

      Umm…you do know that people can simply google “Cam Talbot stats”, right?

      His two best years for save percentage were with the Rangers (around the same time they were going deep in the playoffs). 0.941 and 0.926.

      The three Oiler seasons? Not so good. 0.917, 0.919 and 0.908.

      Talbot has been below league average goalie as an Oiler.

      • btrain

        You Bet! Here is some basic math to demonstrate how to come up with an average:
        Talbots sv% over his initial 4 season in the nhl:
        .941 + .926 + .917 + .919 = 3.703
        Now we simply divide by 4 to come up with the combined average:
        3.703/4 = .92575 (so if I rounded properly his average is actually .926)

        Here is the important part, that your own comment touches on. He hasn’t been as good as an Oiler. So could being an Oiler perhaps be a reason a goalie would regress? Has being a goalie in Edmonton over the last 11 years gone well for anyone? This is a team sport and even the best goalies in the world need a competent group in front of them to boost their stats. Talbot had some of this last year but by and far the D has been subpar for him and therefore addressing the D is more important than gambling 2 mill from your limited budget on a hot tender from lower Europe league.

  • Osmosis_jones

    In all fairness to Nilsson, he was stellar last season in Buffalo and had a good year in Vancouver. Probably an Oiler thing as to why he didn’t work out well here.