The Edmonton Oilers made it official Tuesday signing Finnish-goaltender Mikko Koskinen to a one-year, $2.5 million contract.
The former second-round pick of the New York Islanders in the 2009 Entry Draft just came off one of his strongest seasons in the KHL. Playing in 31 games with St. Petersburg SKA, he posted a .931 save per centage and a 1.69 GAA.
The numbers are nice for sure, but he is 30-years old and by all accounts, his numbers are relatively pedestrian even for KHL standards, as highlighted by Walter Foddis below.
[TL;DR] Koskinen's ranking based on save% in KHL (27 teams)
17/18: 5th (93.7%, 29 gp)
16/17: 43rd (91.6%, 23 gp)
15/16: 40th (91.5%, 41 gp)
14/15: 16th (92.7%, 21 gp)
Koskinen's avg save% from 2014-18 is 92.3%. The league avg from 2016-18 is 92.3%.
— Walter Foddis (@Waltlaw69) May 1, 2018
Unfortunately, there is no NHL equivalency tool for goaltenders coming from the KHL to NHL, so we won’t be able to get an early look as to how his numbers translate.
Last season, the Oilers traded a conditional fifth-round draft choice in this year’s draft to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for goaltender Al Montoya. The conditon was met on the deal, turning the pick into a fourth.
The move was made as Laurent Brossoit went 3-7-1 boasting a bad .896 save percentage.
Montoya didn’t do much better in Brossoit’s wake posting a .906 save per centage and a 2-2-2 record and he is owed just a smidge over $1 million next year.
The Oilers goaltending depth chart now gets confusing. The Oilers have two guys who will compete for the backup role in Koskinen and Montoya, while the AHL/ECHL level will see the likes of Nick Ellis, Shane Starrett, Dylan Wells and Stuart Skinner battle for playing time.
This is assuming that the team lets Brossoit walk and signs Skinner to his ELC.
Edmonton didn’t even give themselves to see the free agency market, or the trade market open up in the offseason. Instead, they decided to outbid any other team possible and forfeit $2.5 million for a goaltender who they don’t even know what they will get out of.
The team still has to sign Matthew Benning, Darnell Nurse, Drake Caggiula, Ryan Strome and Anton Slepyshev (rumoured to be KHL bound) to RFA contracts.
UFA’s this year are Yohann Auvitu and Mike Cammalleri, whom the team needs to decide on as well.
Peter Chiarelli said during his year end press conference that even though he knew that the team had contracted goalies going into next year he said goaltending was “closer to the top of the list of things to look at and it’s something we’ll have to look at closely.”
Obviously, it’s understandable given that Cam Talbot had himself a bit of a down year, but the decision to jump the gun when we already have a backup goaltender on the payroll is one that makes me scratch my head.
Is there something that Peter Chiarelli and his pro scouts saw in Mikko that they just couldn’t possibly pass up? I doubt it.
I hope that Koskinen works out. I hope that he comes in, blows Montoya out of the water and can play 20 really good games for the Oilers this year. I hope that the Oilers would then be able to flip Montoya for a draft pick, recouping the otherwise wasted asset.
If that isn’t the case, then this is just another blunder by the Oilers organization.