The Edmonton Oilers need help in goal. Mikko Koskinen is paid like a starter but his glove hand is as reliable as Peter Chiarelli’s general manager abilities. Koskinen only has 59 career games played in the NHL and a .906 save percentage in 2018-19. It’s unfortunate Koskinen is paid $4.5 million per year, but the Oilers will need a significant backup goaltender to cover for Koskinen.
Oilers general manager Ken Holland mentioned he will probably get a goalie after July 1st, but there isn’t a whole lot of quality goalies available in free agency.
Robin Lehner and Sergei Bobrovsky will get the most attention. It’s extremely unlikely either come to Edmonton. After Lehner and Bobrovsky, Petr Mrazek, Curtis McElhinney, Semyon Varlamov, and Anthony Stolarz are the only free agents with a save percentage above .900.
Cam Ward hasn’t been good in ages. Cam Talbot isn’t returning to Edmonton, but maybe Calgary.
The Oilers didn’t play Stolarz the required amount of starts to retain him as a restricted free agent, so he’s clearly not in the cards.
Varlamov has been linked to the Oilers, although he reportedly wants quite a bit.
Goaltending market remains fluid. #Oilers have connected with Mike Smith during interview period. Petr Mrazek still believed to be an option in EDM, as Smith would also be to replace Mrazek in Carolina.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) June 26, 2019
Mrazek has the obvious connection to Ken Holland. Mrazek looked like the next great goaltender in Detroit, but fell off in 2016-17. He recovered in Carolina, saving .914 of his shots faced. He remains unsigned and I’d be curious what he’s looking for. It’s hard to see him breaking the bank after one solid season, but Mrazek is only 27. Mrazek could bring stability to the Oilers goaltending situation. He could also sink behind a significantly worse blueline. The Hurricanes had a stacked defence, which probably made it easier on Mrazek.
Mike Smith is another option the Oilers have spoken to. Smith has previously played for Tippet in Arizona and Dallas. After save percentages of .916, .914, and .916, Smith fell off and had a .898 save percentage with Calgary last season. He turned it around in the playoffs, sporting a .917 save percentage in five games, but no team should sign a player based on five games. Maybe Smith can rebound under Tippet. Or maybe this is the beginning of the end for a 37-year-old goaltender.
Keith Kinkaid’s been a decent starter in place of Corey Schneider, but last season was his worst in the NHL. He did have two seasons with a .914 and .916 prior to last season and won’t cost a lot.
Calvin Pickard was once in demand, but betting on him after his play in Philadelphia and Arizona last season would be unwise.
Free agency doesn’t have a lot of quality options. What about a trade?
The Sergei Bobrovsky sweepstakes may lead to some trades. Bobrovsky has been heavily linked to the Panthers, and Roberto Luongo retiring this week adds fuel to the fire. The Islanders are interested in Bobrovsky as well. Would the Islanders trade Thomas Greiss. Greiss makes just $3.33 million and had a .927 save percentage in 43 games last season.
James Reimer makes $3.4 million and is available. Reimer’s .900 save percentage last year isn’t exciting, but he’s been good in the past. Reimer carries another year on his contract.
Anton Khudobin was excellent for Dallas when Ben Bishop got hurt. Khudobin has one year left on his contract at $2.5 million. The Stars might want Khudobin as insurance in case Bishop goes down again.
Jaroslav Halak was another goaltender who excelled with Tuukka Rask either hurt or in a slump. Boston, like Dallas, may hold onto Halak for those reasons, but they have to sign Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, and Danton Heinen.
Pittsburgh’s Casey DeSmith would be another target of mine, but Matt Murray’s injury troubles mean that’s unlikely.
St. Louis is going to take of Jordan Binnington after he won them a Stanley Cup, but Jake Allen is still there with two more seasons at $4.35 million per year. Allen’s been mediocre the past couple seasons, but maybe he rebounds with a lighter workload? Salary would have to go back St. Louis’ way to make it work.
Holland signed Jonathan Bernier to a three-year deal in Detroit last summer. Bernier’s .904 save percentage wasn’t good, but he’s put up nice seasons for Anaheim, Colorado, and Toronto in the past.
Los Angeles has made a habit of trading Jonathan Quick’s backups for useful assets. Jack Campbell was very good in 31 games for the Kings last season. His .928 save percentage was significantly better than Quick’s .888. The Kings moved Darcy Kuemper to Arizona, so they don’t mind dealing within the division.
Holland sounds like he’s after a veteran guy, but a younger less-proven goaltender could be the answer, just look at Binnington’s performance in the playoffs. Both Tristan Jarry and Eric Comrie require waivers next season and are blocked by clear starters in Matt Murray and Connor Hellebuyck.
The Jets took a chance of Laurent Brossoit last season and he provided a lot of value on a $650K contract. The Oilers could find similar value with inexperienced netminders.
I’d be interested in Mrazek or McElhinney on a short-term deal, otherwise, I’d go the trade route. Greiss, Campbell, Halak, Khudobin, and even Jarry or Comrie, are more interesting to me than most of the free-agent goalies available.
Follow me on Twitter: @chrispagnani.
After having such a blast over the past two years, we absolutely knew that we were going to organize another golf tourney for the summer and, after a few months of planning, we’re psyched to finally be able to launch our third annual golf tournament.
- When – August 29th, 2019 (Thursday)
- Where – Cougar Creek Golf Resort
- How much – $1000/team or get in on the $900 Early Bird price until July 10th
- Teams – Groups of Four (4)
- How – Book your team here
As always, a portion of all proceeds from your ticket purchase will be donated directly to a local charity. This time we’ve partnered up with the Gregor Foundation to make sure that our kids are at their most handsome.