It isn’t July 1st just yet, but we’re already seeing some tentative free agent signings begin to flood in. According to Frank Seravalli, the Oilers will be inking veteran goalie Mike Smith to form a goaltending tandem with Mikko Koskinen next year.
More on what that means for Lehner, Mrazek, and the rest of the goalie market on @SportsCentre at 6pm ET.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) June 30, 2019
The 37-year-old Smith, who has been in the league for 13 years, had the worst season of his career last year, posting a .898 save percentage with the Calgary Flames. While his regular season was poor, Smith did have a strong showing for the Flames in the playoffs, albeit in a limited sample size. Smith posted a .917 save percentage for the Flames in the playoffs despite the team getting shocked by the Colorado Avalanche in eight games.
New head coach Dave Tippett is certainly familiar with Smith, as the two worked together for multiple years with the Arizona Coyotes. Smith played a key role in the Coyotes’ surprising run to the Western Conference Final under Tippett back in 2011, posting a .930 save percentage during the regular season and a .944 save percentage in the playoffs.
The play with Smith here seems to be buying low and hoping for a rebound season. Smith posted a .915 save percentage at 5-on-5 from the middle of January to the end of the regular season last year and, as I said above, played quite well in the playoffs. I imagine this will be a cheap, one-year deal, which will give the Oilers a little more wiggle room to add some much-needed depth up front with their limited salary cap space. According to Seravalli, it’ll be a one-year deal in the ballpark of $2 million.
At 37 years of age, banking on a rebound for Smith is a pretty big gamble. Hopefully it works out and Smith is more the goalie he was in the second of last season rather than the first half.