Latest Moves: Oilers Expected to Sign Goaltender Mikko Koskinen

by Michael Clifford on May 1, 2018

The Edmonton Oilers announced on Tuesday afternoon that they agreed to terms with 29-year old Finnish goaltender Mikko Koskinen for a one-year contract. The second-round pick of the Islanders back in 2009 just completed his fifth season in the KHL and is now turning his eyes back to the NHL.

Obviously, this isn’t official until July 1st rolls around but there’s no real reason to think this will fall through.

You can read his Dobber Prospects profile here.

 

Who This Helps

No one except Koskinen dynasty owners.

You could make the argument that having a competent backup for Cam Talbot means they can back off his workload. He has started 140 games over the last two seasons, after all. If they can get him down to the 55-60 start range instead of sitting around 70, maybe it’ll be a case where less is more and he won’t wear down.

Maybe a reduced workload will get better quality from Talbot, so a case for quality over quantity may be warranted. I just don’t know if that’s the case. This signing would indicate to me they’re at least looking for an insurance policy, so if Koskinen gets hot while they’re giving Talbot some rest, or Talbot struggles at times, he could start losing a lot more starts.

 

Who this hurts

Cam Talbot.

Here’s the thing: Talbot wasn’t really that bad. Sure, his .908 overall save percentage looks ugly, but among goaltenders with 2000+ minutes at five-on-five, he was mid-pack in goals saved above average per 30 minutes, just behind Tuukka Rask and ahead of other regular starters like Ben Bishop, Braden Holtby, and Devan Dubnyk. His five-on-five save percentage (.916) was in the bottom-third of the league, but a far cry from guys at the bottom like Scott Darling and Craig Anderson. What killed him was the Oilers penalty kill, which bled shots from the slot as if they were playing without sticks in their hands. That poor penalty kill gave Talbot an .846 save percentage while short-handed, fourth-worst in among regular starters. If they don’t fix that penalty kill, or greatly reduced the number of penalties they take, no goaltender on the planet is going to put up good numbers.

 

Were I a Talbot keeper/dynasty owner, I would be worried. At the least, this is going to be a reduced workload, and there’s no telling if the team corrects the penalty kill. Even with an extra 10 games off, if opposing teams are firing at will from the slot on the power play, rest isn’t going to save those pucks.

 

Summary

Overall, I’m bearish on the Oilers goaltending situation now, but I do wonder if that won’t make a good opportunity at the draft table. There’s zero chance Talbot is regularly one of the top-12 goalies off the board, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he slides frequently in the 18-20 range like Cory Schneider did last season. Maybe the rest helps and the team fixes its short-handed woes. That would make Talbot as a mid-tier second goalie a good gamble. It would also make Koskinen a good gamble as a third goaltender.

This is a situation where I’m more bullish to draft them in one-year leagues than try to acquire them in keeper/dynasty. If the Oilers can fix their problems, there’s a profit to be made at their (likely) respective ADPs next year. If they don’t, you can work out trades to try and catch up. Sinking keeper league assets into either Talbot or Koskinen, though, means a longer-term investment, and I'm not willing to do that.