As expected the Oilers finalized a deal with goaltender Mikko Koskinen of the KHL. The prevailing rumour was that the Oilers were going to offer the European netminder a 2 year 2.5M per season deal. However, the team announced that the deal was for only 1 single season.
This is automatically an upgrade over the 2 year deal that was rumoured. Edmonton cannot afford to commit dollars even for just 2 years to unknown commodities. Koskinen last played in North America during the 2011-2012 season where he washed out of the Islanders system. He has since made a name for himself as one of the top goaltenders of the KHL.
It’s easy to see why the Oilers are interested in the 6’7” stopper. He’s had a .920 save percentage or better in 3 of his last 5 seasons, including a .931 save percentage with St Petersburg last year. Edmonton is in desperate need of a quality backup who may push Talbot for starts. The team cannot afford to lose because of weak goaltending. They have enough problems before getting to the man between the pipes.
Koskinen will be a UFA at the end of next season, as will Cam Talbot. The game here is that Edmonton has created an open competition for the future of their goaltending. If someone takes the ball and runs with it they are going to hold all the cards, but hopefully that means the team is getting quality goaltending.
Of course, the risk is that at the end of next year the Oilers lose both Talbot and Koskinen to free agency. However, it’s my belief that there are always going to be a way to find quality goaltending…if you can identify it. Edmonton cannot afford to become Philadelphia West with its stoppers.
The gamble with Koskinen is that he’s going to end up in the pile of failed European star goalies who came over to the NHL with big expectations only to be average against the best shooters in the world. As a 1B or backup, though, the Oil are hardly banking on him. It would be more accurate to say they are banking on what a healthy competition for ice time will do for Talbot.
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