Mike Smith on Injured Reserve

Mike Smith injured
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The Edmonton Oilers announced today that goaltender Mike Smith landed on the team’s Injured Reserve (IR). That removes the netminder from their active roster, leaving a spot filled by Stuart Skinner from their AHL club. Skinner was recalled from the Bakersfield Condors in the same move, the team announced.

Mike Smith Placed on Injured Reserve

Smith left Tuesday night’s contest against the Anaheim Ducks in the second period after Anaheim’s fourth goal. At the time, the goal put the Ducks up by a score of 4-3. Initial assumptions were that Smith was being pulled in hopes of a momentum change. However, it actually turned out to be a lower-body injury.

“I think it’s going to be day to day,” said head coach Dave Tippett after the game. (Edmonton rallied to win 6-5 with Mikko Koskinen in net.) “He just tweaked something that he didn’t want to hurt worse…[and is] going to see a doctor in the morning just to check things out.”

Over his 16-year NHL career, Smith played thus far for the Dallas Stars, Tampa Bay Lightning, Arizona Coyotes, Calgary Flames and Oilers. His career record currently lies at 285-254-76 with a .912 save percentage and 2.69 GAA. Originally drafted by the Stars in the fifth round, 161st overall in the 2001 NHL draft, Smith (39) sits second only to Craig Anderson (40) as the oldest active goalies in the NHL.

What This Means for the Future

So far this season, Smith owns a 2-0-0 record with a .920 save percentage. His goals against average sits at 3.08 per game. Those stats remain especially impressive considering they include the four goals he gave up in half a game, and on only 15 shots, before leaving with injury last night.

Without Smith, Koskinen assumes the starting role between the pipes. He’ll be leaned on heavily, as third-string goalie Stuart Skinner only has one game of NHL experience. Skinner is only 22 years old though, and with Koskinen’s inconsistent play over the years could get an opportunity. It also depends on how long Smith will be sidelined, as he remains their clear starter. They committed to Smith through the end of next season (2022-23), rare for a player of his age to receive a two-year deal, while Koskinen expires at the end of this season. Considering Koskinen also earns more than double Smith’s pay ($4.5 million annually, compared to Smith at $2.2 million annually), the Oilers would certainly be happy if Skinner showed enough promise to become an NHL regular beginning next year.

Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images