In one of the first official signing announcements of free agency, Mike Smith has joined the Edmonton Oilers on a one-year deal. The contract is for $2 million with performance bonuses worked in that could add a bit more value if he and the team perform well.
News of Smith Signing Broke Sunday
This quote came in from TSN’s Frank Seravalli later on Sunday night: ” Expectation is Mike Smith will be in neighbourhood of $2 million base salary with potential to earn up to $2 million more in performance bonuses on a one-year deal with #Oilers, to be announced tomorrow.”
He later tweeted with confidence, Smith chose the Oilers while Cam Talbot has essentially chosen the Flames.
This Solves an Issue for Oilers
There was a clear need in Edmonton for another netminder when you looked at the question marks surrounding current starter Mikko Koskinen. Koskinen was great for a short time, not good at others and uncertain for the remainder of his inaugural season with the Oilers and in the NHL.
Koskinen’s single-season sample size wasn’t nearly enough to confirm for the organization that the Oilers had landed a starter. The old regime signed him to a multi-year contract anyway.
Why Smith Chose the Oilers?
Smith joined the panel on Sportsnet almost immediately after free agency opened. That interview confirmed he’d agreed to join Edmonton. He said, “It’s better to play with a player like McDavid than against him.”
But, the real reasons he chose the Oilers was because of new coach Dave Tippett and his relationship with him dating back to their time in Arizona together.
He also said he was happy to get an opportunity and knows how good the Oilers can be, calling them a team that can burn you if you’re defense isn’t on point.
He told Brian Burke he’d be moving to Edmonton to ensure he gets time with his family and can stay a dad to his big family. It’s probably not a bad idea because if things go well between Smith and the Oilers, it could be the start of future signings between the two.
Fan Reaction in Edmonton
As for Smith, the fan base is mixed. Many feel he might have lost his game and that the combination of he and Koskinen is a tad scary. Others know what Smith has been in the past and reuniting him with his old coach at an affordable number is a win.
Fans should like his personality though. Anyone who says, “Hopefully I’ll be able to connect with Connor a few times and send him in deep and help this team get back into the playoffs,” should make him a fan favorite.
Smith is the type of veteran the Oilers need and it will be interesting to see what else new GM Ken Holland has up his sleeve on Monday.
Jim Parsons is a freelance writer who covers the Edmonton Oilers and news and rumors posts here at The Hockey Writers.
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