Mike Smith just can’t catch a break this season, can he? This afternoon, the Edmonton Oilers announced that the veteran goaltender will miss a week or two after an MRI discovered a partially torn tendon in his thumb.
Jason Gregor broke the news during Oilers practice.
Smith thumb is still bothering him and he won't play on Saturday. Will be out a week or two. Edmonton only plays one game in next week.
Bakersfield has cases of COVID so waiting on Skinner test to see if he is available.
Koskinen most likely starts v. Ottawa. #Oilers
— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) January 13, 2022
I don’t think I’m talking out of school when I say that this season has been disastrous for Mike Smith in the sense of keeping him healthy. Smith started the season with a pair of very strong performances against Vancouver and Calgary before eventually hitting the IR for the next couple of months. As it turns out, his return from a lower-body injury was also short-lived as Smith has since battled some minor issues that seem to keep popping up and keeping him out of the crease. The defacto starter heading into this season, Smith was expected to carry a big chunk of the load in net as the Oilers looked to bounce back from a disappointing end to the 2021 campaign, but to this point in the year, the 39-year-old netminder has only been able to appear in six total games. Unfortunately for Smith, injuries have derailed the first half of this season and with this new injury to his thumb sidelining him for the next week or two, the Oilers will be forced to alter their plans yet again.
The good news, if you’re looking for some, is that Stuart Skinner will be recalled from the Bakersfield Condors to join Mikko Koskinen as the team’s goaltending tandem for the next little bit while Smith recovers from this latest problem. To this point in the season, Skinner has outperformed what many Oilers fans would have expected from him with many suggesting that he’s the best goalie the team has right now anyway. In 10 appearances so far this season, Skinner has a 4-5-1 record and sports a 2.70 GAA and .916 save% while also being the goalie of record in the Oilers’ last two wins. When asked about Skinner after practice, Dave Tippett said that the team is “very comfortable bringing him up and playing him. He’s shown he can play at this level” and with Smith’s ability to stay healthy coming under question, we’ll have to wait and see how much game action the former Lethbridge Hurricane actually sees.
At the time of posting, the Oilers are scheduled to play only once over the next six days as a result of COVID postponements so it will be interesting to see how this goaltending situation plays out over the next few weeks.
MIKE SMITH’S SEASON SO FAR