11

Monday Mailbag – Who should back up Mikko Koskinen next season?

Welcome, friendly Nation citizens, to another edition of the free college replacement known as the Monday Mailbag! Obviously, it’s an unbelievably strange time to be alive right now but we still wanted to put together your questions and try to come up with whatever answers we can As always, this feature depends on you so please send me your questions by email or Twitter for next week and I’ll try to sneak you in. Until then, I hope you all have a wonderful week and please enjoy the free learning opportunity.

1) Clay asks – Since the NHL shut down, Ken Holland has already re-signed a few NHL regulars and a bunch of prospects. What do you think of how active he’s been so far in taking care of his offseason to-do list?

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Jason Gregor:

Depth signings. It is always good to have blueline depth. I don’t think any of the three recent D signings will play in Edmonton this year, but Lennstrom has the best chance due to his skating ability.

Robin Brownlee:

These are regular housekeeping items — ELC’s for Berglund and Lennstrom etc and extending Haas — that need to be taken care of. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Tyler Yaremchuk:

Fantastic! The cap situation for next season is going to be very difficult for the Oilers and the entire league so the more roster and cap certainty that the Oilers have, the better. Holland has made a handful of low-risk signings and I like that he’s taking care of them earlier.

Nation Dan:

It’s very refreshing to see D getting signed and plans being made to make sure the team has a good core going forward and the likes of Evan Bouchard and Philip Broberg aren’t needed to be rushed in before they are ready.

Baggedmilk:

I like that Holland has started checking off items from his to-do list, including the addition of some defensive depth for the Bakersfield Condors. The only concern I have is that it seems like most of the same players will be back, which isn’t exactly a horrible thing, but I feel that there is still opportunity to upgrade the roster.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Oct 22, 2019; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom (77) passes during the third period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

2) Hank asks – Sweden has taken a completely different approach to deal with the current crisis and my question is whether or not anyone thinks NHL would look abroad as a way of continuing on with their season?

Jason Gregor:

Zero chance. The time zone difference alone makes it no go.

Robin Brownlee:

No, I don’t think there’s any chance of that. It’s going to be difficult enough to find places to play in North America without adding the component of taking games overseas. As for Sweden, their approach of resisting a complete lockdown has probably softened the impact on the economy, but they have a mortality rate per million people worse than the U.S.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

That’s interesting but I would say one major problem with that is that majority of the league’s players and team staff are here in North America and it might be difficult to fly them over there. Also, a big reason why the league wants to come back is because of the TV revenue and I don’t think their TV partners would be thrilled with having to send crews overseas and having to deal with the time change. Would the NHL and Sportsnet want important games being played in the morning or afternoon on weekdays? Doubt it.

RELATED ARTICLE:
Defending Was Main Issue

Nation Dan:

Staying away from the political side of the discussion, I just don’t see the NHL going over there from a purely logistical standpoint. Even if you assume the 70-80 NHLers are in Sweden. That’s a far cry from the 700 or so that are spread elsewhere. Moving them around becomes riskier with every flight and such. Just don’t see it.

Baggedmilk:

Sweden is eight hours ahead of us which means that they’d have to play games in the middle of the night to be shown in prime time here. That alone makes it a no-go. Not to mention, having to ship all of the North American players over there seems really unnecessary. If they can’t get the NHL back on the ice over here then it’s just not going to happen.

Feb 29, 2020; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Andreas Athanasiou (28) skates during warmup against the Winnipeg Jets at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

3) Nathan asks – I’ve seen a couple of mentions of Andreas Athanasiou on the site this week and I wonder what everything thinks would be a fair price on his next contract given that he had a very tough season?

Jason Gregor:

He needs to be qualified at $3 million. I’d try to sign him for a bit less. Max he gets is $3 million, and if Holland manages to sign him to a bit lower cap hit that is a win considering the situation.

Robin Brownlee:

He’s been at $3 million the last two seasons. He was good value two seasons ago in Detroit with 54 points and less productive last season, although he played just 55 games (26 points). People talk about potential with him, and there certainly is some, but until he proves 2018-19 wasn’t a one-off, he wouldn’t get more than a “show me” offer from me. I wouldn’t offer more than two years. Dollars? I don’t know.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

While he did score 30 goals last season, he wasn’t having a great year in Detroit and he didn’t overly impress me during his brief stint with the Oilers. I really like him as a player but considering the fact that he wasn’t going to score 30 goals again, is an RFA, and the salary cap probably won’t go up, I can’t see him getting too much more than the $3 million he was currently making. Maybe $3.5 million on a short-term deal?

Nation Dan:

It’s such a cop-out answer to give but I honestly can’t be sure. There are so many variables going into next season with the cap uncertainty, the possibility of a continuation of this season, and add into that how the other teams/owners will be doing with their own finances. But if we are going strictly off how he did this season and pretend that the cap would be the same next year… $3 per for maybe two years? I don’t know if he would go for more than one year of that but that’s a risk if it really clicks with McD and co.

RELATED ARTICLE:
The Blue Paint

Baggedmilk:

I see him signing his qualifying offer at $3 million for next year and taking a bet on himself. Seems like the easiest and most likely solution at this point.

Feb 29, 2020; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith (41) makes a save during warmup against the Winnipeg Jets at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

4) Kevin asks – Are there any free agent goalies that you’d like to see Holland approach to back up Mikko Koskinen or do you believe that Mike Smith has a head start on that job already?

Jason Gregor:

Two proven NHL goalies I see who make sense financially would be Anton Khudobin or Thomas Greiss. Khudobin has incredible numbers, so he’d be an upgrade, while Greiss’ numbers are a bit better, but he plays behind a more defensive system in NYI.

Robin Brownlee:

I wasn’t a big fan of signing Smith before last season, but he was a good fit here with Koskinen even with his ups and downs. There’s something to be said for having a cohesive tandem like the Oilers had. In a perfect world, you’d have a young guy learning the NHL ropes behind Koskinen, but in terms of getting results now, I’m not sure there’s a more ready-made fit than Smith, as long as he’s willing to take a one-year deal.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

Mike Smith probably has that spot if they can agree on a price tag, which should be lower than what he would have ended up making in 2019/20. There are some other options that shouldn’t be too expensive like Anton Khudobin, Brian Elliott, or Thomas Greiss (the most expensive of the three). Or maybe he goes after an RFA option like Matt Murray, Adin Hill, or Alexander Georgiev.

Nation Dan:

I tend to believe the organization thinks Smithers still has it but I am scared of trying to catch lightning in a bottle for a 39-year-old goalie. This is a two goalie league for the most part now and I’d love to see them go after Anton Khudobin or maybe a Dell or Kinkaid.

Baggedmilk:

I’d be stoked if they brought in Anton Khudobin. I don’t mind Mike Smith, especially after the heater he got himself on in 2020, but it’s not like he’s getting any younger, ya know?

5) Terry asks – If 2020 was a movie title what would it be?

Jason Gregor:

The Never Ending Story

Robin Brownlee:

I’m not willing to throw out a movie title to describe a year that’s seen so much death and suffering when we’re still in the middle of it. Bad taste.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

Probably something like “Disaster”. I would like a movie just based on all the stupid people doing dumb stuff when it comes to COVID-19. We could call that move something like “You won’t believe what these morons are doing.”

Nation Dan:

“The Disaster Artist” – I don’t think even Tommy Wiseau could have written a script this bad.

Baggedmilk:

Groundhog’s Day

OODLE NOODLE IS OPEN FOR TAKE-OUT AND DELIVERY

During this time of pandemic, Oodle Noodle will be donating 10% of all takeout and curbside delivery sales will be donated to local charities on a weekly basis. To order pick up, call into the store directly or order at the till. If you’re staying in and practicing your social distancing, no-contact delivery is available at www.oodlenoodle.ca.