The Edmonton Oilers have lost goaltender Mike Smith. The veteran hasn’t played yet, but he has encountered an obstacle just the same. The news comes on the heals of a strong victory over the Vancouver Canucks Thursday evening. Patrick Johnson of the Vancouver Sun announced the absence Friday afternoon.
Source tells me Oilers goalie Mike Smith likely out "multiple weeks"
— Patrick Johnston (@risingaction) January 15, 2021
Oilers Mike Smith Out
The 38-year-old Smith had a fine season in 2019-20. He appeared in 39 games, winning 19 with a .902 save percentage and 2.95 goals-against-average. It was a mild bounce back from an even more difficult 2018-19, but Smith is clearly in decline. It seemed highly unlikely he could return to the levels of production he had with the Arizona Coyotes and Calgary Flames and this setback only makes things harder. However, he is playable enough to be worth a roster spot even at his advanced age if whatever is troubling him clears up quickly.
The Dallas Stars originally drafted Smith in the fifth round of the 2001 Draft, but he didn’t debut until 2006-07 and appear in 23 games. Dallas traded him to the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2008 as part of a trade that included Jussi Jokinen and others. Smith would eventually sign with Arizona, be traded to Calgary, and sign with Edmonton during his 14-year career. Overall. the Kingston, Ontario native has a career .911 save percentage and 2.71 goals-against in 610 NHL games. He also has a .934 save percentage and 2.33 goals-against in 25 postseason games.
How Edmonton Survives without Smith
The Oilers were already using Mikko Koskinen as the primary goalie for 2020-21 and that won’t change with Smith out. The 32-year-old has a career .907 save percentage and 3.55 goals-against in 99 games. He figures to handle the bulk of Edmonton’s 56 games from this point out. Edmonton also has Stuart Skinner on the active roster, but the 22-year-old has no NHL experience. He spent most of last year with Bakersfield in the AHL and posted a .892 save percentage and 3.31 goals-against in 41 games. The Oilers would prefer to have Smith as the primary backup, but Skinner will have to be sufficient baring a trade or other move.