Edmonton Oilers: Looking at expiring contracts – UFA edition

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins #93, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins #93, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /
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Mike Smith #41, Edmonton Oilers
Mike Smith #41, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /

G Mike Smith, expiring contract $1.5 million

Oh, if only it were Mikko Koskinen’s contract expiring and not Mike Smith’s. Smith’s season is a testament to two moves the Oilers made at goalie – losing out in the Jacob Markstrom sweepstakes and re-signing Smith.

While Markstrom was as mediocre as ever for Calgary, Smith surprised pretty much everyone – myself included – by putting up a season that had him just a shade under Vezina trophy consideration. Too bad they could only nominate three goalies, Smith likely would’ve been next in line.

He injured himself in training camp so his season didn’t get off to a good start. But, once he got back he was gold. He ended up setting a career-high in sv% with .923, past the elite mark, and the third-best GAA of his career with 2.31.

All at the age of 39, when most NHLers are either wrapping up their careers or already retired. Although his numbers in the playoffs weren’t as good as they were in the regular season, he still rebounded nicely from the 1 disastrous game he had against Chicago 2 seasons ago. In the playoffs, he was .912 with a 2.40 GAA.

Those numbers could’ve been much worse considering three of the four games went to OT, with one game going to triple OT. That’s a lot of hard minutes for a goaltender, but Smith hung in there, almost matching the reigning Vezina Trophy winner save for save. Can’t ask much more from your goaltender than that.

Who knows how the Oilers will do next year in the playoffs, but one thing we know for sure – Smith will be in net. He’s not the long-term solution – after all, how much longer can he keep up this play at his age? But, he’s a good option for next season, and he’ll be the 1 constant in what will likely be some changes in net for the Oilers – Koskinen may get bought out or exposed in the Seattle expansion draft.

Chances he’s re-signed – 100%. In his year-end address, Holland publicly said he’s bringing Smith back. So we know he’ll be back.

Projected contract – 1 year, $2.5 million