Mike Smith is reported to be closing in on a two-year extension with the Edmonton Oilers. The 39-year-old netminder will reportedly earn around $2 million dollars for each year of the deal. The deal is expected to be announced tomorrow, when the restriction on new signings is lifted. Both Patrick Johnston and Chris Johnston were first to report the news.
Expect a two-year deal in the $2M range. https://t.co/eTSCDFdwtW
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 21, 2021
Oilers to Sign Mike Smith to Extension
Smith first made his trek to Edmonton in the 2019-20 season. Fresh off of an up and down campaign with the Calgary Flames highlighted by an impressive playoff performance, Smith inked a one-year deal on July 1, 2019 for a total contract value of $3,750,000. His first year in Edmonton was an inconsistent one that was streaky at times. He finished the season with 39 games played, and a below average save percentage of .902 and goals against average of 2.95. After making a lone appearance in game one against Chicago where he let in five goals and was subsequently pulled, many Oilers fans did not expect Smith to return.
On October 10, 2020, however, a second year of Smith in Edmonton became a reality when he inked another single-year deal, this time in the $2 million dollar range. Thankfully for the Oilers and Mike Smith, his second year was much improved over his first.
According to MoneyPuck.com, Smith finished the 2020-21 campaign fourth in the league (min. 10 GP) in terms of goals saved above expected, fourth in the league in terms of save percentage above expected, and second in the league in terms of save percentage above expected on high danger shots.
Smith’s renaissance campaign was enough to earn a pair of Vezina Trophy votes, as well as the confidence of General Manager Ken Holland to sign him to a new multi-year extension.
Mike Smith finishes seventh in the Vezina Trophy race with two third-place votes.
— Daniel Nugent-Bowman (@DNBsports) June 29, 2021
What This Means Going Forward
The Oilers are putting a large portion of their trust in an aging goalie who is coming off a very impressive year. However, who was showing signs of decline before that. The two-year term is a risk for the Oilers if Smith’s play goes sideways, but the $2 million dollar average is at the very least an acceptable amount of money for a backup, should Smith regress to that role.
As of now, the Oilers have both members of their goalie tandem from last year under team control for next year.However, Holland has previously expressed a desire to improve his team between the pipes. By signing Smith, this may give Holland the security he needs to explore a Mikko Koskinen trade, in order to try and improve on the other half of the tandem. Names to look for in the event of this happening include Petr Mrazek and Jonathan Bernier, both of whom have connections to Ken Holland.