The Edmonton Oilers have signed goaltender Mikko Koskinen to a three-year, $13.5 million contract extension, Elliotte Friedman is reporting. The deal will carry a $4.5 million cap hit that will keep the 31-year-old netminder under contract through the 2021-22 season.
Koskinen signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract with a full no-movement clause after posting a very impressive 22-4-1 record with St. Petersburg SKA in the KHL last season. He’d post a 1.57 goals-against average and a .937 save percentage in his impressive campaign and drew significant interest from NHL teams as a result.
It wasn’t just one season of impressive play that drew NHL interest, however, as Koskinen had played well in the KHL for six-straight seasons.
Despite this successful track record, many were shocked that the Oilers had given Koskinen a full no-movement clause and $2.5 million as an inexperienced goaltender who had only played in four NHL games prior to this signing, all with the New York Islanders in 2010-11.
Prior to this season, the 31st-overall selection from the 2009 NHL Entry Draft held a 2-1 record with a 4.33 goals-against average and .873 save percentage.
Since rejoining the NHL, Koskinen has experienced very high peaks and very low valleys. Koskinen would start his tenure with the Oilers as the hottest goalie in the NHL, leading some to question whether or not the team had found its permanent netminder with Cam Talbot being a possible trade chip as a result.
Koskinen would deal with consistency issues as the season progressed, however, and his impressive peripherals would drop to a 14-10-1 record with a 2.78 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage.
Those numbers are more representative of a backup goaltender than a starting goalie in the NHL. It’s surprising then that the Oilers would commit a three-year deal to Koskinen worth so much money after just 27 games this season and 31 games overall.
Oilers Looking for Positive Changes
The Oilers are a team dealing with a plethora of issues surrounding salary cap and talent. Though the team is actually above the salary cap, they are one of the worst teams in the NHL with 49 points and sit just seven points out of last place in the league standings.
Interestingly enough bottom half of the Western Conference postseason race actually features teams with only 52-points a piece in the Wildcard race. Because of this, the Oilers are still well within reach of a postseason berth if they can consistently win for the remainder of the year.
The team is already making changes to their roster as well as it was announced Monday that forwards Ryan Spooner and Ty Rattie were being placed on waivers. This is a bad turn of events for an Oilers’ team that traded Ryan Strome to acquire Spooner earlier this season. The team traded Jordan Eberle for Strome just a season ago.
Brandon Share-Cohen has covered the NHL and various professional sports for seven years. Working with The Hockey Writers, Brandon works extensively on covering the Boston Bruins in addition to his role as the News Team Lead.