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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Smith and Brian Elliott are possible Oilers goalie targets

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.

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.

  • TKB2677

    If those are the 2 options, why not just see if you can resign Talbot? I have ZERO interest in Smith. He’s 37, going to be 38 in March. If the choice is Talbot or Elliot. Why not go for Talbot. He lives in Edmonton. He and his wife LOVE it because all his wife does is Tweet how awesome it is. You know he’s a good teammate and the players like him.

    Maybe on a 1 yr deal for cheap, he can find his game.

    • TKB2677

      Varlamov had .909% and a 2.87GA. So not great but not awful numbers. He was making 5.9 mill. Given how many teams could use goaltending and how weak the free agent crop is, I don’t think Varlamov is going to have to take that big of a paycut to find work. He will be too expensive most likely.

  • Oil9744

    I don’t think Elliot or Smith is the answer the Oilers need. Lots of NHL teams are rolling with 2 goalies now and Edmonton definetly should be one of those teams now that Mikko is signed in for 4 more years or whatever it is. I really think we need a true 1a and 1b goalie tandem to have success no matter what team is set up in front of the goalies. I say they go for Varlmov in free agency. If they have to use around 8 mill on goalies then so be it. It’s not Holland’s fault he’s left with Mikkos crap contract extension but I really don’t see why Edmonton would use 2 mill on Elliot for a year when they can get a younger goalie capable of being a number 1 like Varlmov for 4 mill. I’d be way more comfortable with Mikko and Varlmov for next season.

  • Darcy yaceyko

    OMFG!! are you kidding?!?!? So two goalies that shyt the bed on their respective teams and were targeting them both?? Sounds like a personal thing between Tippet and Smith. And well Elliot, I’m not quite sure why they’d go after him.

    • Kool-Aid Man

      When did things instantly improve? We are still in paddle boat, without no paddle, going down Charelli creek. At least we have a experienced navigator in Ken Holland to hopefully steer through the rapids, metaphorically-speaking-of-course.

    • Glencontrolurstik

      I’d rather take a flyer on Darling than Smith or Elliott…
      If you are going to take a chance on a bounce back, it may as well be Darling.
      And not ex-Flames.

      • TruthHurts98

        Smith can stay on the Flames. He’s overrated and his glove hand sucks. He embellishes routine saves but in the playoffs the Avs figured this out quickly. The Oilers don’t have the cap space anyway and he’ll want a big contract. I hope he stays with the Flames so I can laugh more watching them choke in the games that matter.

    • Derian Hatcher

      Maybe worry about the Neal signing and how FN were celebrating a cup run on the red mile before vitually the whole team showed how soft they are in winning ONE game. Considering all of that, perhaps Jobu, and some of the other flame trolls should consider some humility – glass houses and all that.

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      LOL you ought to be worried about those so called stars that went missing during the playoffs, you know that depth you guys were going on and on about that led to another epic first round exit. Lots of Johnny hockey jerseys for you to buy that got thrown on the ice, just go check out your local Value Village discount bin

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    Thanks but no. The Oilers would be way better off looking for someone who is in europe ( not the KHL ) Neither Elliot or Smith are what the Oilers need, yes a veteran would be nice, but not for guys whose better days are behind them. Other teams seem to be able to find inexpensive goalies who can do a pretty good job as back ups, right now the Oil would be better served finding someone who is hungry and has something to prove and that can do at least 30 games.

    I still am no Schwartz fan, and I dont believe he is the solution to the issues plaguing our goalies, I still cant fathom why the Oilers retained his services but the fans will be screaming if Koskinen is still plagued by the same issue into the new season.If the Oilers were smart they talked to Koskinen’s agent and got him working with someone before camp starts

  • ed from edmonton

    These two guys can’t be the first choices, if the Oil end up with a tandem of Koksinnen and either one of them we might as well start looking at the 2020 lottery options. I have been a proponent of Vharlamov as a least a faint hope option. I’m assuming Mazurek will resign in Carolina.

  • OiLNATION

    This line up is very well possible if oilers trade benning and russel and retain atleast 3ish mil and trade lucic:

    Dzingel-McD-Brown
    Nuge-Drai-Kass
    Ennis-Haula-Pulju
    Khai-Cave-Gagner

    Klef-Larss
    Nurse-Jones
    Sek-Bouch
    Lageson-Persson

    Kosk
    Smith

  • Arfguy

    I swear, if Brian Elliott ends up with Edmonton, I will want to punch myself in the nuts repeatedly. Why is anyone interested in Elliott after the last couple of years? I don’t care how badly the Oilers need a back-up. At this point, I’d rather take Calvin Pickard than Brian Elliott. WTF?

    • Freddie

      You have to bear in mind that the hapless Oil top every least desired destination list of the top twenty % of the NHL elite … now bring that philosophy along with you & apply it to the UFA’s out there … yes, now you got it … they feel the same way about Edmonton … beggars can’t be choosey, hey …

  • Slipknot 8

    The Oilers HAVE to be going after Semyon Varlamov on the cheap, this is a prime buy low candidate ……..If he’s not part of the conversation the they should continue to re-evaluate there pro scouting.

    • cityofchampions

      I agree that Varlamov seems the best candidate of the retreads out there, but because of that he won’t come too cheap as other teams will be interested as well. It’s not a good market for goalies this year. I would also be interested in Mrazek, but not much else beyond that.

  • El Connor mcdaddy

    Mike Smith is the kinda guy who tips a penny at a restaurant and thinks its funny. Mike smith is the kinda guy who drinks at a 5 year old’s birthday party, Mike smith is the kinda guy who comments “heart eye emojis” on random girls instagram pics, Mike smith is the kinda guy who wears sunglasses inside, Mike smith dosn’t shower after games because he “forgets his shower stuff,” Mike smith gets mad at uber drivers and thinks its funny, Mike smith says “I’ll pay you back later,” with full intentions of never paying you back ever, Mike smith hits on the bride at weddings, mike smith drinks monster energy drinks because he “likes the taste,” Mike smith eats fire hot chips and makes sure that everyone knows that he thinks “they aren’t even that hot.”

    If anyone has anymore please continue. Mike smith is a douche.

    • Beer_League_Ringer

      Mike Smith is the kind of guy who could help us break out of our zone with his excellent puck handling skills and get 15 assists on McJESUS stretch pass goals…

      Oh wait. That’s not what you meant, is it?