Oilers News & Rumors: Keith, Smith, Koskinen, Gibson, McDavid

In an Edmonton Oilers news and rumors update, there is talk that the Oilers have asked both Duncan Keith and Mike Smith to give them a heads up about their future plans. Meanwhile, Smith’s decision becomes increasingly important because the Oilers found out that Mikko Koskinen has officially signed in Switzerland. Finally, there’s social media buzz about a video of Connor McDavid and I get into why fans need to simply ignore it.

Koskinen Signs in With HC Lugano

Rumors were out there, but the speculation became official on Monday when Mikko Koskinen was announced as having signed with Hockey Club Lugano of Switzerland. After four seasons with the Oilers, he’ll be leaving the NHL and not testing free agency this summer, choosing instead to be in the final international contract for that organization.

Koskinen took a lot of criticism from fans during his tenure in Edmonton. A lot of it wasn’t warranted, simply because it wasn’t his fault he was given a contract that was beyond a level he could likely perform to. He was paid as a starter and he really wasn’t one, even if his numbers weren’t terrible. Had he been playing on a backup’s salary, fans wouldn’t have been so hard on the leaky goals or moments of inconsistency that plagued him while he was an Oiler.

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Best wishes to Koskinen who took his lumps in Edmonton like a champ.

Smith and Keith Asked To Make a Decision

It sounds like conversations between the Oilers, Duncan Keith, and Mike Smith have been had with respect to potential retirement plans. There’s a good chance neither player hangs up their skates, but Elliotte Friedman reported that the Oilers have asked both players to keep them in the loop about their respective futures and make a decision by July 1.

Duncan Keith Edmonton Oilers
Duncan Keith, Edmonton Oilers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

If Keith retires, the Oilers get a nice bonus in terms of a salary cap credit. If you are curious as to how that salary cap recapture penalty could hurt the Blackhawks and help the Oilers, I took a much deeper look at it here.

Related: Mike Smith’s Future With Oilers Comes Down to Question of Fit

If Smith retires, the Oilers can set their sights on finding a starter. That, of course, leads to news that John Gibson has informed the Anaheim Ducks that he’s willing to be moved this offseason. If accurate, the Oilers would be a team that might show interest, although it isn’t known if Gibson is open to going to Edmonton or has the Oilers on a short-list of teams he’d accept a trade to. Gibson has a cap hit of $6.4 million for the next five seasons.

Xavier Bourgault Getting a Lot of Attention

The Oilers have a promising group of forward prospects in their system, but perhaps Xavier Bourgault is getting the most attention. There’s been some chatter that he might be a trade piece the Oilers use to acquire a winger if Evander Kane doesn’t stick around — rumors of Josh Anderson’s name are out there –, but there’s a real push not to move Bourgault. The belief is that he’s got a very bright NHL future and isn’t a prospect you move.

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Bourgault and the Shawinigan Cataractes won the President’s Cup this season. He recorded 75 points in 43 regular-season games and 22 points in 16 playoff games. They will now compete for the Memorial Cup starting on June 20.

Connor McDavid Video

A video has leaked of some Oilers out and about with speculation that Connor McDavid might have been with someone that isn’t his girlfriend Lauren Kyle. First off, we have no idea of the context of that video. Second, why does it matter? The video has certainly piqued the interest of fans but it really isn’t up to us to decide what these hockey players do with their personal lives.

I hesitated to even mention the topic in this article, but have done so for one reason: as a caution to not give it more attention than it’s already gotten. That someone felt the need to share this video and is getting a kick out of how much attention is getting is part of the problem when it comes to the Oilers keeping good players around. This is not to say the person who shared the video is an Oilers fan, but it would be wise for those who want McDavid to remain happy not to give that video the light of day, regardless of what’s going on. It’s not our business and it’s easy to assume the players don’t appreciate it.