We are all fully expecting the Oilers to be very active this offseason. They have some holes that need to be filled, pending free agents that need to be re-signed, and bad contracts that need to be dealt with. There’s a lot to get done and there’s been a lot of debate around Oilersnation about what Oilers GM Ken Holland should and shouldn’t do.
That’s why I’ve decided to take my offseason wish list for the Edmonton Oilers and break it into five steps. So far I have written three parts:
And now, here is part four:

Find a Second Goaltender

May 12, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Petr Mrazek (34) stops a shot during the first period in game two of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Carolina Hurricanes at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
I am assuming, like most are, that @Mike Smith will be brought back it’s just a matter of the contract being announced. I personally do not think they can bring back Mikko Koskinen as the second goaltender. His contract should be moved out before the season starts and Ken Holland should be searching for a more reliable option to pair with Smith.
Once that happens, the Oilers will begin the hunt for a goaltender to pair with Smith. The situation is kind of the same as their hunt for scoring wingers. There are very intriguing options on both the trade and free-agent markets.
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Usually, going the free agent route means you don’t have to give us any assets and you might need to overpay. This year, I’m not sure if you’ll have to overpay too much considering the flat cap and the fact that there are a lot of goaltenders available. Here are the free agents I could see the Oilers being interested in:
Phillip Grubauer: I think there is a very, very good chance that Grubauer returns to the Avalanche but in the event they let him walk, the Oilers should be all over the Vezina candidate. The odds of him being available are slim and he’d cost a lot to sign, but he’d be a perfect fit.
Petr Mrazek: He’s coming off an injury-riddled season with the Hurricanes, but when he was in the net, he was very good. In 12 regular-season games, he had a 2.06 GAA and a .923 SV%. At just 29-years-old, there’s reason to believe he still has lots of good hockey left in him. Holland drafted Mrazek back in 2010, so there’s a history here as well. He shouldn’t cost more than $3.5-$4.0 million either.
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Linus Ullmark: The 27-year-old has spent his entire career with the Buffalo Sabres and despite that has found a way to post solid numbers. This past season he started in 20 games and had a 2.63 GAA and a .917 SV% and actually won nine games on a terrible Sabres team. His age and upside mean he will cost more than someone like Mrazek, but those are also reasons why the Oilers should be very interested in him if he hits the market.
Chris Driedger: Like Ullmark, he’s only 27-years-old. However, he’s started 79 less games than Ullmark during his career. He burst onto the scene this season with the Panthers, posting a 2.07 GAA and a .927 SV% in 38 games played. It’s a risk going after a guy who’s only been in the league for one season but when that season was as good as Driedger’s was, it’s worth strongly considering.
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Frederick Andersen: Andersen struggled to stay healthy this season and eventually lost the crease in Toronto to Jack Campbell. Removing the playoff collapses that frustrated Leaf’s fans for a few years, Andersen is a very good goaltender and he’s only 31-years-old. If Toronto doesn’t bring him back, I wouldn’t mind seeing the Oilers look at him on a short-term deal. He could be primed for a bounce-back season.
Antti Raanta: The risk with Raanta is that he just can’t stay healthy. In the last three seasons, he’s played just 57 games. I have him last on this list for a reason but if the Oilers somehow strike out on every other name on the market, he’s a decent emergency option I suppose. But again, he’s far from my first choice.
There is also the possibility that the Oilers go the trade route. There are some interesting names that could be available.
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@Darcy Kuemper: The Coyotes are going to have to expose one of Kuemper or Adin Hill in the expansion draft. If they move one of their two goaltenders, then there really isn’t much for Seattle to take. I wonder if they might cash in on the value of Kuemper this summer. If the Coyotes decide to move him, then the Oilers should be very interested in a 31-year-old goalie who’s a legit number one option when healthy, especially if the cost is nothing more than draft picks.
@Elvis Merzlikins: At just 26-years-old, Merzlikins is just entering his prime and through 61 career NHL games, he appears more than capable of being a number one goaltender. Columbus has Joonas Korpisalo (who they could also trade) and Matiss Kivlenieks in their system as well. If the Blue Jackets are open to moving Merzlikins, the price will undoubtedly be very high but still, the Oilers should be interested.
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@Alexandar Georgiev: He’s been in trade rumours for a few years now. The Rangers have Igor Shesterkin and appear to be fine with him being their number one goalie. I could see a scenario where they move Georgiev and look for a more veteran option. I personally think the Oilers should aim higher than Georgiev but he’s worth mentioning.
There are some very intriguing names on the market and it looks like there might be more competent goalies than spots on NHL rosters. That’s good news for the Oilers as the price on some solid UFA goalies might be lower than usual. Going the UFA route makes a lot of sense, but the idea of adding someone like Kuemper or Merzlikins should interest Ken Holland.
The bottom line is that Holland needs to upgrade the Oiler’s goaltending. Mike Smith will likely be back but keeping Koskinen around is just too risky for my liking. They need to get a more reliable option to pair with the veteran Smith and after looking at how many options are on the market.
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