In case you missed it yesterday, the Edmonton Oilers signed 30 year old goaltender Mikko Koskinen to a three year deal worth $13.5 million dollars. The new deal will begin next season and comes with a cap hit of $4.5 million per season.
While Koskinen has been good with the Oilers this season, it’s safe to say that Oilers fans have NOT been receptive to this news.
Koskinen has a stellar 2.78 goals against average and .911 save percentage in 27 games with the Oilers this season, but it’s not as if he’s set the NHL on fire. He’s certainly been better than teammate Cam Talbot, but that’s not saying much given how poorly Talbot has played this season.
The bigger yikes? Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston has reported that Koskinen’s new deal includes a No Trade Clause.
Wow… so evidently all you need for a $13.5 million deal with trade protection is to play 31 career NHL games.
In other Oilers news, the team placed forwards Ryan Spooner and Ty Rattie on waivers yesterday. Both players cleared waivers earlier today.
Spooner, of course, was acquired in exchange for Ryan Strome earlier this season who in turn was acquired in exchange for Jordan Eberle in the summer of 2017. So, in effect, Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli has traded Eberle, a six time 20+ goal scorer, for… well… nothing.
As for Rattie, well… it’s a little confusing, to say the least. With just two goals and eight points in 29 games it’s not like Rattie was setting the NHL on fire, but to anyone who has watched this team, it’s clear that Rattie isn’t the problem. He’s been more impactful than Milan Lucic, Tobias Rieder and Kailer Yamamoto this season, the latter of which could be demoted to the AHL without the need for waivers.
In the wake of today’s news, the team cancelled their practice and held an emergency meeting with the players, coaches and management staff. Head coach Ken Hitchcock spoke afterword and was very direct in his assessment of things, saying that his team simply hasn’t been good enough.
Superstar captain Connor McDavid went a step further, calling out any player on his team who he sees as unwilling to help the team turn things around.
When asked by a reporter, "Is part of the challenge that some guys don't think that those 23 guys in there are the right group to be able to do that,” McDavid was blunt in his reply.
"Well if there's guys that believe that then they should get out of the room," said McDavid as per TSN. "If you don't believe in this group and you're in this locker room then you need to leave."
It’s rare to see McDavid be so critical of his team and it’s clear that the kid is frustrated but… can you blame him? The Oilers are once again in the basement of the Pacific Division and look headed for another early offseason with their playoff hopes dwindling by the game.