Earlier this month, it was reported that veteran goalie Mike Smith was giving the Edmonton Oilers a hard time in contract negotiations. The Oilers have had a lot of their plate with re-signing forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to a hefty deal and trading for defenseman Duncan Keith, and Smith might be in need for attention…
Darren Dreger reports that more work needs to be done by general manager Ken Holland when it comes to getting Smith to re-sign in Edmonton. It was mentioned last week that an offer has been tabled by the Oilers, but Smith’s camp was expected to counter.
Now Dreger points out that some progress has been made, but that Smith will have suitors if he remains unsigned in two weeks.
That’s right : rival teams are reportedly going after the veteran netminder!
“I’m told that they’re negotiating to get things done. It’s a slow-moving process and I’m also told that if Mike Smith becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 28, despite the fact that his best years likely being behind him, there are clubs with interest, so the Oilers have some work to do.”
Smith made 1.5 million last season, a great price for the veteran goaltender. He managed to keep his head above water, but the Oilers have to keep in mind that age is a factor here. Smith turned 39 in March. If Smith’s counter offer does not make sense to the Oilers, and especially Holland’s wallet, the GM will need to realize there are better goalies out there that could be available on the trade or free agency market.
And it sounds like Smith could find work elsewhere. He posted a 21-6-2 record this season with a .923 save percentage and a 2.31 goals against average - his best marks of his career since the 2011-12 season. He had a .912 save percentage and a 2.40 GAA in the playoffs as the Oilers were swept by the Winnipeg Jets in a series that included three overtime losses.
Holland needs to make the best decision for his team, and a significant upgrade in between the pipes has to be on top of his list. Holland has to be wondering what to do in between the pipes to make sure his roster is ready to counter much longer than this spring and have something good to present to all-star captain Connor McDavid.
Let’s see where this goes ahead of July 28th…