The Oilers intend to see what the free agent market looks like for goaltending before making a decision on Mike Smith, GM Ken Holland told NHL.com’s Tim Campbell. Smith had just a .902 SV% in 39 games this season which is below average for a backup, let alone someone that was brought in to push incumbent Mikko Koskinen for playing time. However, cap space is limited for Edmonton with less than $9MM in cap room and quite a few free agents to contend with beyond Smith. Accordingly, they may need to shop at the lower end of the market to save some money and the fact that the 38-year-old is eligible to sign an incentive-laden deal may be appealing to give them a bit more financial flexibility to work with. A decision on that appears as if it will occur on or after October 9th.
More from the Pacific Division:
- The Flames have yet to present an offer to pending UFA Cam Talbot, the goalie revealed to Postmedia’s Wes Gilbertson. The 33-year-old has indicated an interest to remain with Calgary, as long as he’s not in a backup position. This past season, that was his role as he made just 22 starts while David Rittich made the other 48 despite Talbot having the better numbers. The tables flipped in the playoffs, however, as Talbot made all 10 starts and played well, posting a 2.42 GAA with a .924 SV%. A full-fledged starting job may be hard to come by but a platoon position is certainly attainable if he gets to the open market.
- Sharks center Antti Suomela has started skating with HIFK, the SM-liiga team announced. At this time, he’s only skating with them to stay in shape for next season but as their press release indicates, that could change once he gets a deal done with San Jose. The pending restricted free agent had a goal and six assists in 20 NHL games this season while chipping in with five goals and four helpers in 14 AHL contests. If a deal is reached soon, he could join the growing list of players suiting up overseas on loan agreements.
- The Canucks are expected to tender qualifying offers to AHL players Justin Bailey, Jalen Chatfield, and Guillaume Brisebois, reports Rick Dhaliwal of TSN 1040 and The Athletic (Twitter links). Bailey had a career year in the minors with Utica, collecting 28 goals in just 53 games, good for fourth league-wide. The 25-year-old has 65 career games of NHL experience and is eligible for salary arbitration. Meanwhile, Chatfield wrapped up his entry-level deal this past season and had four assists in 48 games. He was recalled on five separate occasions in 2019-20 but didn’t see any NHL action. As for Brisebois, he played in 48 games with Utica this past season, picking up four goals and 11 assists. He didn’t get into any NHL games in 2019-20 but does have eight games of experience from the 2018-19 campaign.