On Thursday afternoon, the Edmonton Oilers announced that goaltender Mike Smith is injured. He will miss one to two weeks with a partially torn tendon in his thumb.
Oilers goaltender Mike Smith will need one-to-two weeks to recover after an MRI revealed a partial tear in a tendon in his thumb, according to head coach Dave Tippett.https://t.co/xSqvnJOUks
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) January 13, 2022
Oilers Goaltender Mike Smith Injured
Smith sustained the injury in the overtime period of a 6-5 loss to the New Jersey Devils on December 31st. According to Oilers Head Coach Dave Tippett, the veteran netminder tried to play through it in the team’s loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on January 5th. However, after receiving further evaluation, the medical staff decided to give him at least a week’s rest. This is tough news for Smith, as this is not the first time he has missed games this season. Smith was on the team’s injured reserve for 70 days after the season’s third game. The 39-year-old has played just six games this season, contributing a save percentage of .898, and a record of 2-2-1.
What It Means
The Oilers biggest problem this season has come in the crease. Last season, Smith’s .923 save percentage and 2.31 goals against average lifted the oilers to second place in the North division. Now, with him returning to the sidelines, the Oilers must look to the struggling Mikko Koskinen to carry the load. In 20 games thus far, Koskinen boasts a .900 save percentage and is among the league’s worst with a goals saves above expected of -6.7 (according to moneypuck.com).
It is believed that Koskinen will start on Saturday against the Ottawa Senators. Last Tuesday, Tippett stated that he preferred to leave rookie goaltender Stuart Skinner in the AHL to play lots. However, Skinner will join Edmonton’s taxi-squad pending a negative Covid test. The 23-year-old will look to be in the mix for starts as he has been the Oilers best goalie this season by far with a save percentage of .916, and a goals against average of 2.70.