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Edmonton Oilers Hoping to Re-Sign Mike Smith

Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland noted that he’s hoping to get goaltender Mike Smith re-signed this offseason.

Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland spoke with media on Wednesday and while he couldn’t provide detailed answer when it came to the futures of some of his pending unrestricted free agents, the one player he wasn’t hesitant to say he wanted back was goaltender Mike Smith.

Despite being eliminated from the 2020-21 NHL playoffs in a sweep, Smith was excellent for the Oilers. He wasn’t perfect, but not many are and his solid .912 save percentage in the four games certainly gave the Oilers a chance to stay in each game of that series, making it much closer than it might have otherwise been. When asked if he was interested in bringing back a 39-year-old who seems to be getting better with age, GM Ken Holland said with conviction that he’ll look to get an extension done.

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Smith’s .923 save percentage during the regular season surprise a number of people. There were serious questions coming into this past season that the tandem of Smith and Mikko Koskinen could get the job done and while Koskinen struggled early, playing 10 of the Oilers first 11 games, he found more comfort in net after Smith returned from an injury. Smith not only played extremely well when he returned, easily winning the starting role, but he settled Koskinen down.

There will be questions about Koskinen’s future. While Holland said that statistically the tandem offered the Oilers good goaltending and there could be a scenario where Edmonton brings back both players, Holland will look for an upgrade. The only thing he won’t do is sacrifice a decent tandem that’s a bit older, only to add a younger, inexperienced goalie who will undoubtedly have growing pains.

Mike Smith Edmonton Oilers
Mike Smith Edmonton Oilers

Holland did say during his media avail that he’ll look at buyouts this offseason. Most people assume that he’s likely thinking about removing the expensive contract of James Neal, but he could have also been thinking about Koskinen. If so, that will put tremendous pressure on Holland to find a suitable 1B and more pressure on Smith, if he’s retained to be a regular starter.

Can Smith Do It Again?

The question Oilers fans will now be asking is if Mike Smith can come anywhere close to repeating his performance from this season. At 39, the questions will remain until he proves otherwise.

The good news for the Oilers is that even if Smith isn’t as good but is still good, his experience and leadership will be an important part of the success of the team moving forward. The one common feeling that must be crushing the Oilers this week is how disappointing it is to now be sitting on the outside looking in. They’ll need players like Smith, who are motivated and angry, to ensure there’s not a repeat in 2021-22.

What a contract looks like for Smith is unclear. He’s likely earned himself a raise over the $1.5 million he was making this season, but f the Oilers are looking to add competitive pieces in other places, they’ll need to ensure he’s not a whole lot more expensive.

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