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How was he the last few years? In the last two seasons, 63 NHL goalies have played a least 30 games. Of those goalies, Smith ranks 53 out of 63 for save percentage, with a .900 percentage in his 81 games. He’s just behind Brian Elliott and Craig Anderson, just ahead of Jimmy Howard and Aaron Dell. Compare that to Koskinen, who ranks 31st overall with a .911 save percentage, just behind Semyon Varlamov and Matt Murray, just ahead of Linus Ullmark, Curtis McElhinney and Marc-Andre Fleury.
Where does he fit in the line-up this year?With Oilers GM Ken Holland saying he’s open to Smith coming back, there’s a chance he could be the back-up goalie to Koskinen, playing about 30 games. Perhaps with less ice time, the hot-and-cold Smith might find more consistency in his play.
What can we expect from him this year? Likely signing as a back-up goalie on a team with a set starter who is capable of playing 55 to 60 games. Either that or he’ll retire.
Conclusion?Fold. Holland is wise not to shut any doors here, but there’s got to be a better option than an inconsistent 38-year-old goalie with a .900 save percentage the past two seasons. The NHL market is packed with goalie promise, and the Oilers really need a player who can challenge Koskinen for the top job. All due respect, that ain’t Smith.
Bruce McCurdy on Mike Smith
Four and a half months ago we conducted our in-depth (regular) season review on Smith, with the writer guesstimating that there was a 60/40 chance the Edmonton Oilers would bring the charismatic stopper back. Today with decision time fast approaching, we have precisely 26 minutes and 32 seconds more data on this player. That doesn’t sound like much, but it’s surely more than enough to write a very different story about Smith’s likelihood of returning to Edmonton.
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