An important move for Ken Holland in his first summer as general manager of the Edmonton Oilers will be navigating the team’s awkward goaltending situation. The team curiously inked Mikko Koskinen to a three-year deal worth $4.5 million annually despite the fact the big Finn hadn’t proved he could be a starting goalie on a successful team.
Given Koskinen’s uninspiring track record at the NHL level, the Oilers will need to find themselves a 1B goalie to split the net this season. If the team is going to make the playoffs next year, it isn’t really feasible to expect Koskinen to play 65 games.
Jason Gregor spoke about the Oilers’ goaltending situation on his radio show today and mentioned Mike Smith and Brian Elliott as two options to fill that 1B gig along with Koskinen.
Gregor saying Brian Elliott or Mike Smith are possible Oilers G targets.
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Neither Smith or Elliott had good seasons last year but both are veterans who have had success in the past.
Elliott’s season was derailed due to injury. He played in just 26 games for the Flyers and posted a .907 save percentage. He’s played for five teams over his 12-year NHL career and virtually all of his success came as a member of the St. Louis Blues.
Smith is a goalie head coach Dave Tippett knows very well. Tippett had Smith has his starting goalie when he coached in Arizona where he posted solid numbers over six seasons. Smith also backstopped Tippett’s Coyotes to a Western Conference Final berth in 2012 in which he posted a .944 save percentage.
He was traded to Calgary back in 2017 and had one solid season and one poor one. In his first year with the Flames, Smith posted a .916 save percentage but the team fell short of making the playoffs. Last season, he was terrible, putting up a .898 save percentage, and he ultimately lost the net to rookie David Rittich. Smith did redeem himself with a decent showing in the playoffs in which he posted a .917 save percentage, but the team in front of him let him down.
The free agent market for goalies isn’t inspiring. Sergei Bobrovsky is the big prize but he’ll certainly be out of the Oilers’ price range. Vezina Trophy finalist Robin Lehner would be a good option but he’ll also likely be too pricey for the Oilers.
One option I think would make some sense is Petr Mrazek. Holland is familiar with Mrazek as he was drafted by the Red Wings in the fifth round of the 2011 draft. Mrazek appeared to be the goalie of the future in Detroit, but Holland ended up dealing him to the Flyers in 2018 for a couple of draft picks. The 27-year-old had a bounce-back season this year for the surprising Carolina Hurricanes, posting a .914 save percentage in 40 games.
Mrazek is enigmatic but is a younger, higher-upside option than Smith or Elliott.