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If Mike Smith returns to the Edmonton Oilers, he’s a candidate for LTIR

The future is muddy for Mike Smith.

He wasn’t shy in noting during his exit press conference with the media last week that he didn’t know about his future in the NHL. A report from colleague Jason Gregor said he was considering retirement.

“Looking back on it, in the brief time I’ve had to decompress, it was challenging at times,” said Smith. “Some good things obviously, but a grind — a grind of a season.

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“It was fun to make the playoffs and go on a run like we did, but playing through injuries for the majority of the season is not easy. I don’t know where I’m going to be four months from now. I got a lot of stuff to deal with.”

His comment in there about playing through injuries sounds like it’s something more severe than just an off-the-cuff “yeah, I was banged up.”

So much so that according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman that if Smith were to return to the Edmonton Oilers next season, he is a candidate for the long-term injured reserve.

“Smith had made it very clear publicly that he was thinking about (retirement),” said Friedman in the latest 32 Thoughts podcast. “I think LTIR is a possibility for him, even if he decides not to officially retire. I hear he’s really banged up, really banged up.”

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“I think it was all season too, or most of the season, Elliotte,” chimed in co-host Jeff Marek. “This guy gutted it out all year long.”

The news certainly comes as a surprise. As we watched the playoffs go on, it seemed more and more like Smith had been labouring. Friedman’s report comes on the back of another from him where he reported the Oilers have asked defenceman Duncan Keith and Smith to update the team by July 1 on their potential retirement status for next season.


Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at [email protected]