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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

  • Dr Dragon

    In other news the goalie factory that is the Nashville Predators signed former oiler draft pick Miroslav Svoboda. Not sure why the Oilers didnt give this kid a contract he had some pretty gawdly numbers in the czech league

  • 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.

  • Glencontrolurstik

    Ben Scrivens was one of the best goalies in the KHL this year with a .922 %.
    I really don’t think he is much better than when he played in the NHL?
    I base that on his Olympic performance. I’d be cautious with this signing?
    However, it is worth a try, I guess. I would just have other options, is all…

    • Scrivens had a .917sv% and 2.29GAA last season while Koskinen had .931sv% and 1.69GAA. Koskinen was around 22-23 when he played in the NHL, most goalies are still in the AHL or Europe at that age. Maybe he’ll be better then he was before maybe he won’t but at a 1 year deal it’s a “why not?”.

      • Magicaleigh

        Let me tell you about *checks notes* Ryan Zapolski and Daniel Taylor.

        Also Koskinen had two not very good years the two years prior, but sure 30 good games gets you overpaid by chiarelli.

    • LAKID

      Chia effed up by not just going with Brossoit instead of gifting Bergeven a fourth round pick for a goalie that was going on waivers,comming off a concusion and just not up to NHL standards.The Oiler’s were to scared to play him and he got re injured again, bad management. Unless they trade LB the Oiler’s still need him in the back ground because they don’t have anything proven on the big club except a proven back up in Talbot.

      • crabman

        Brossoit is an UFA this summer. It isn’t a matter of him being traded, it’s whether or not he is resigned. If the Oilers decided to trade Montoya rather than have him as the AHL starter and 1st goalie call up, that is if anyone wants to trade for him, then they may resign Brossoit to play that role next year.

        • OilerForLife

          I seem to sense that Brossoit will no longer be with the Oilers, based on his reaction when they signed Montoya. Brossoit has been given chances in the NHL, but hasn’t performed to a high enough level. I wish him well, but he hasn’t earned a contract.

  • 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.

  • Oil9744

    I was hoping for Carter Hutton but oh well, chances of him hitting the market are slim and if he does it’s a gamble if Edmonton would have even got him, everyone seems to bring up the Anders Nilsson signing with Koskinen like it’s a bad thing, to be honest I thought Nillson was a decent goalie, he and Talbot battled for the top spot for over half a season till Talbot won it, Koskinen is a huge goalie and likes to play his game like Pekka Rinne with them both being from Finland, If he can do that then we might have something more then people expect in Edmonton. It’s kind of crazy how all 3 of our goalies only have 1 year on there contract and they will all be UFAs. It’s gonna be a battle in that crease next season.

  • Little Buttcheeks

    I’m in favour of adding goaltending depth with upside. But 2.5 mill? For a team that needs to watch the cap, that seems high. If you are going to spend that much on a backup, he had better be proven. This guy could end up anywhere from the minors to pushing Talbot for the starter. He won’t be worth that coin if he only ends up playing 20 games or so.

  • Magicaleigh

    Man does Chiarelli ever know how to overpay marginal players. Between Kassian and Koskinen alone there’s probably 2.5 million in wasted cap space.

    Two goaltenders have come from the KHL in the last 5 years, Nillson and Glass, and they both are not very good!

  • 24% body fat

    Chia, throwing money around, just like he did with Lucic and Russell, there are players that may be 92% as good as these players but cost 50% less. suprised there isnt a NMC too

    • 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.

  • vetinari

    Really mixed about this signing. Talbot needs to be pushed and I don’t think Montoya or Broissart will be the ones doing it but I am not sure about a $2.5/M unproven NHL goalie. I guess time will tell but I know that either one of Talbort or Koskinen will be gone by this time next year as they would both be too expensive to carry on the roster for the long term. I also hope Chiarelli can at least move Montoya or Broissart and get some picks back for the draft or add them into another deal as our AHL crease will be jammed up soon.

      • 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.

  • Oiler Al

    Pete paid the price for the one year deal! Probably a good idea , lets see what the guy can do?Now if only Todd can be convinced to play this guy for 20+ games.

  • 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!!!)

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    Meh, Chia dud what he always does….over paid for the guy. Why not just give it to one of the decent UFA’S available this summer instead? We have seen this before with Anders Nilsson, who was a decent backup but was given up on too quickly in my opinion.

  • 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.

  • 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.