Oilers News & Rumors: Koskinen, Smith, Kane, Team Forward Depth

In an Edmonton Oilers news and rumors update, the team had to make some adjustments in goal after learning that their starter tested positive for COVID.

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Meanwhile, Evander Kane spoke with the media and discussed his getting back into game shape and being thrilled with his decision to join the Oilers. Finally, are the Oilers looking to upgrade the quality of the depth they have with their bottom-six forwards?

Oilers Shuffling Goaltenders

After news broke that Mikko Koskinen had tested positive for COVID, the Oilers are making some changes in net as they head into a run of eight games in 13 days. Mike Smith is back from injury and will get the start against the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday. Stuart Skinner will be recalled and likely get the start on Wednesday versus the Chicago Blackhawks.

Mike Smith Edmonton Oilers
Mike Smith, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Perhaps frustration with Smith’s situation isn’t the right way to describe what head coach Dave Tippett has been feeling when it comes to the veteran netminder, but the coach did say, “It’s time for him to jump in and get the job done for us.” The Oilers need a healthy Smith to start pulling his weight and do what he was signed to do. Health issues have made him largely irrelevant in the team’s success, but not having him has played a factor in why the Oilers aren’t higher in the standings.

Kane Feel Fantastic About His Decision to Join Oilers

Speaking with the media on Tuesday, Kane said he feels great about his decision to join the Oilers as a free agent. He says he feels even more comfortable and confident realizing that what he thought he knew about the team was true. “I think this group has incredible potential, I think we’re just starting to find our game, I think we’re going to get better and better as a team, especially down the stretch.”

Kane argued that playing as many games as the Oilers are about to play is not a bad thing. He notes that it will be good for the Oilers to pick up some wins and be battle-tested heading into the playoffs. He noted that the guys went through some adversity before he arrived and that’s not always a bad thing.

Oilers Searching For “Quality Depth”

Kurt Leavins of the Edmonton Journal took a look at the Oilers potential desire to add a quality depth forward and cited Bob Stauffer of Oilers Now who said the team might be looking at names like Lawson Crouse (Arizona), Mason Appleton (Seattle), Nathan Bastian (New Jersey), Mason Marchment (Florida) and Nick Paul. Leavins noted it is easier said than done to make those deals, but he also believes Bob is onto something.

Lawson Crouse Arizona Coyotes
Lawson Crouse, Arizona Coyotes (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

He writes that the Oilers haven’t had much luck in the past adding depth at the deadline. He writes that the names mentioned are good targets for Edmonton. He explains:

…the players I just listed is the point at which their careers sit today. They are in the Oilers price range. The cap is real, after all. But these newer names also still have runway. They’re generally a bit younger and would still have a chance to develop along with the rest of the group.

source – ‘The Edmonton Oilers have to be grinding out of the break, both on the ice and off: 9 Things’ – Kurt Leavins – Edmonton Journal – 02/06/2022

Leavins argues the Oilers need to improve their depth because the players they have now — names like Colton Sceviour, Devin Shore, Kyle Turris, Slater Koekkoek, Brendan Perlini, Derek Ryan — might not even be in the league next season.

The concern with this approach might be that in improving the quality of the depth at forward, the Oilers will have to sacrifice upgrading their goaltending or defense. Is that the wisest decision?