In today’s Edmonton Oilers news and rumors update, there is belief by one NHL insider that Mike Smith has done enough in Edmonton to earn a one-year extension, while another insider looks at contracts for veterans like Kris Russell, James Neal and Alex Chiasson and believes all could be gone next season. Finally, there are rumors the Oilers have a fourth jersey coming out next year, one that looks a lot like the old WHA jerseys did.
Oilers to Give Smith One More Season?
According to Sportsnet’s Mark Spector, the Edmonton Oilers believe goaltender Mike Smith has played well enough this season to earn a one-year contract extension with the team. There is certainly a risk at his age to go more than one season, but his hot play leading into the NHL pause gives the Oilers the confidence that he and goaltending partner Mikko Koskinen would make a good tandem again.
Spector points out that since December, the 37-year-old has gone 12-3-4 and tied for the second-most points accrued by a goalie since Jan. 1.
The trick here is seeing if Smith will accept a pay cut to stay with the Oilers. They have over $17 million invested in 15 players already and it doesn’t appear likely the salary cap will jump much, if at all.
Russell, Neal and Chiasson to Go?
Still with the Oilers, Allan Mitchell of The Athletic believes veterans like Kris Russell, James Neal and Alex Chiasson will likely be squeezed out of the roster next season. They are simply too expensive and the Oilers have other choices.
Saying that Caleb Jones, Kailer Yamamoto and other younger players are ready to take the next step and for a much less costly price, Mitchell writes:
That leaves Kris Russell with Neal, Chiasson, Haas and Patrick Russell as players who are in roster trouble on merit. I wrote recently about the young players who made this kind of transition possible, and the next steps are evident because of the emergence of players like Jones.source – ‘ Lowetide: Which Oilers veterans are in roster peril?’ Allan Mitchell – The Athletic – 03/19/2020
Most of the money freed up by moving Russell would go to Ethan Bear, assuming the Oilers can find a trade partner. There is some talk about an amnesty buyout in the NHL for next season and if that ever comes to pass, Neal and Russell would be the top candidates on the list for the Oilers.
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Oilers Fourth Jersey Coming?
There is speculation that the Edmonton Oilers have another jersey design coming for next season, adding yet another to their many versions that fans gobble up every season.
Icethetics’ recent Jersey Watch reports, “Multiple Icethetics sources have now provided jersey descriptions that suggest the “twist” could be as simple as a color inversion (i.e.: a blue Canadiens sweater with a red chest stripe).”
Under the “Expected” category on the website, they also wrote:
“…the Oilers will have a white fourth jersey, similar to their current uniforms but with the blue and orange inverted. The source reports the look is “reminiscent of the original white jerseys from when the Oilers were in the WHA.”
Most fans weren’t in love with this season’s third jerseys until they were actually released. It will be interesting to see if fans give these next jerseys the same reaction and buy them just as quickly as the last.
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Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”