Oilers News & Rumors: Koskinen, McDavid, Yamamoto

In an Edmonton Oilers news and rumors update, the team is getting good goaltending from Mikko Koskinen and they’re apparently going to keep riding the netminder until he proves that they shouldn’t. Is that the right move both short-term and long-term? Discussion about the Oilers’ power play is everywhere, and Connor McDavid getting calls is front and center in that conversation. Finally, how long is the leash for Kailer Yamamoto? He got his first goal of the season, but can he continue to push forward?

Koskinen Showing Well, What Does It Mean?

With an injury to Mike Smith, the Oilers are thanking their lucky stars that Koskinen is showing signs he’s more the goaltender of 2019-20 than the goalie of 2020-21. Koskinen has been tremendous this season with a 5-1 record on the season, a .933 save percentage, and a 2.21 goals-against average despite the Oilers often being outshot. But, is continually playing Koskinen the right move?

Mikko Koskinen Edmonton Oilers
Mikko Koskinen, Edmonton Oilers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The knock on Koskinen in the past is that he’s crumbled when overplayed. Fortunately, the Oilers have had a generous schedule to start the season and playing time hasn’t been an issue. That said, how long do the Oilers run with him? Is it until he has a couple of poor outings? Or, do they limit his starts now to ensure it’s not too much too soon? Stuart Skinner has yet to get a game and Mike Smith is close to being ready.

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Others are wondering what happens if Koskinen continues to play well? If he rebounds and earns the starter role, is he a goaltender the Oilers rely on heading into the postseason? There will be arguments for and against that idea. Finally, what if he really shows well for most of the year and has a strong playoff? Do the Oilers dare offer him an extension?

McDavid Was Robbed Argues Former NHL Official

During Wednesday’s Daily Faceoff Show, former NHL referee Tim Peel spoke with Frank Seravalli and co-host Steve Greeley about the lack of calls going McDavid’s way, including during last season’s playoff run where he didn’t get a single call and the recent game against the Seattle Kraken. Peel says it’s clear the NHL and its officials need to do a better job.

Connor McDavid Edmonton Oilers
Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

When asked what the Oilers should do about it — especially when you consider how deadly their power play has been this season and they would greatly benefit from more calls — Peel said:

“I think the first step would be for Kenny Holland to have a discussion with (NHL director of officiating) Stephen (Walkom). As the GM of the team, it’s not really the coach’s place and get Stephen to explain why these calls aren’t being made. Then, if Kenny can bring Stephen clips like this that show Connor not getting calls, then it’s Stephen’s job to talk to the officials and pass it down by email or by sending clips like this out to make them aware of what’s going on in the league, and also keeping our guys on standard with tripping.”

The Oilers’ power play is operating at an incredible 46.2% and even one call on McDavid per game (there are likely two or three that get missed) would be a huge win for the Oilers.

Kailer Yamamoto Needs to Build Off First Goal of the Season

Yamamoto finally scored in the victory over the Seattle Kraken on Monday night. It was his first goal of the year and first point and the hope is that he uses it to build confidence and get on a roll. While the Oilers have been winning, the team is expecting him to produce as part of the team’s second line and if he doesn’t, his leash might not be terribly long.

Yamamoto is the kind of player that does a lot of things correctly, but his role isn’t limited to forechecking and drawing penalties. If he can’t produce offense with Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on his line (NHL leaders in assists), Yamamoto may not long-term future with the organization.

He’s pending restricted free agent but the Oilers are tight on cap space with Jesse Puljujarvi to negotiate a deal with as well.