While a guest on The Bob McCown Podcast, Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland spoke about his team’s success, how he’ll approach this year’s trade deadline and how important goaltending has been to the organization’s results thus far this season. McCown brought up the fact that Edmonton’s Mike Smith has played extremely well, but John Shannon asked how the team will manage his workload going forward.
Shannon suggested that the Oilers were pretty much a lock for the playoffs and wondered how many games each netminder might get the rest of the way. He hinted at the idea too much time for Smith wouldn’t keep him fresh at 39 years old, while too little time for Mikko Koskinen could be detrimental.
Holland wasn’t worried about Smith’s age and he noted that it was likely a decision that would come down the road as the Oilers don’t necessarily see themselves as a playoff team yet. The GM noted that, in the NHL, you could play well and lose four or five games in a row. But, if the Oilers continue to get wins and move up the standings, where they sit may determine how much each netminder plays.
Holland says he’s got full confidence in head coach Dave Tippett’s decisions to slot players in and out and noted the coach has been excellent about making sure every player feels part of the team’s success. He also hinted that if the Oilers have a cushion at the end of the season, they’ll play Koskinen more.
Ride the Hot Goalie
One thing Holland did allude to is that there aren’t many goaltenders in the league that are consistently among the top netminders year in and year out. More often than not, goalies go on hot runs and most the NHL’s backstops have the ability to do it.The key for the Oilers to recognize when those runs are happening and take advantage.
He still believes a duo is going to be the key to success this season for most teams but if Smith is playing lights out hockey like he has been, you don’t want to jeopardize that hot streak.
All I can wonder is… how much do you think Holland looks back at not landing Jacob Markstrom, which allowed him to sign Tyson Barrie and Smith and thanks his lucky stars Markstrom chose Calgary?
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