Ken Holland has already had a busy off-season but the summer is far from over.
After adding Duncan Keith, Cody Ceci, and Zach Hyman along with re-signing Tyson Barrie and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the Oilers still have some holes on their roster, perhaps most notably, their goaltending situation.
As of right now, Edmonton has Mike Smith, Mikko Koskinen, and Alex Stalock in the mix. According to Jason Gregor and Frank Seravalli on Friday’s episode of the DFO Rundown, the team has been active in pursuing another goaltender, including Joonas Korpisalo from Columbus…
SERAVALLI: Two things when it comes to the Edmonton Oilers. I do think they’ve continued to work the phones on the goaltending front. The team that they’ve been in touch with is the Columbus Blue Jackets about Joonas Korpisalo. I think Elvis Merzlikins going to end up with a longer-term extension there when it’s all said and done and I think Korpisalio is going to be the guy on the go.
They’re looking for a first-round pick as a part of the package. The Oilers would be willing to do that if it meant they’re taking Mikko Koskinen back. The other question is what else are you having to give up to make that happen. I think there’s some interest in Dmitri Samorukov. There’s potential he’s part of it.
GREGOR: You look at Colorado… Conor Timmins and a first went for Darcy Kuemper.
SERAVALLI: There’s got to be a price to get them to take Koskinen. That’s where Samorukov might come in. Samorukov, Koskinen, and a first for Korpisalo. Something like that. I’m not saying it’s going to be done. But that’s the general framework of a conversation that’s been ongoing.
Like Kuemper, Korpisalo is signed for one more season before he can become an unrestricted free agent. He carries a $2,800,000 cap hit for the 2021-22 season.
Korpisalo has been up-and-down with the Blue Jackets. The former third-round pick from the 2012 draft broke into the league in 2015-16 and produced a .920 save percentage over 31 games as a rookie splitting the net with Curtis McElhinney and Sergei Bobrovsky.
Between 2017 and 2019, Korpisalo played in 59 games for Columbus and put up a .899 save percentage. In the summer of 2019, Bobrovsky walked in free agency and Korpisalo and Merzlikins became the team’s goaltending duo. Korpisalo played in 37 games and put up a .911 save percentage, but he was excellent in the playoffs, posting a .941 save percentage in nine starts.
In 2021, Merzlikins was the better goalie than Korpisalo. Merzlikins had a .916 save percentage over 28 games while Korpisalo posted a .894 save percentage in 33 games.
There’s no doubting the upside with Korpisalo but a quality prospect and a first-round pick would be a steep price to pay for a goaltender who hasn’t been able to consistently be good at the NHL level over the years. It’s no guarantee that Korpisalo would be better than Koskinen for the Oilers in 2021. I would prefer paying that price for Merzlikins.