Oilers goaltender Mike Smith proved to be a good complement to Mikko Koskinen this season as he posted a 2.95 GAA with a .902 SV% in 39 games in what basically amounted to close to a timeshare of starts when all was said and done. Despite that, Postmedia’s Jim Matheson suggests that the veteran may need to take a pay cut from his base $2MM salary (let alone the $375K in bonuses he earned) to stick around for 2020-21. With several skaters needing to be re-signed (including Andreas Athanasiou and his $3MM qualifying offer and Matt Benning’s $1.95MM qualifier), Edmonton GM Ken Holland likely won’t have much to spend on Koskinen’s backup for next season. While there will still be a decent market for backup goaltenders, the 38-year-old Smith may be better off trying to stay where he is in a good situation, even if he has to take a dip in pay to do so.
More from the Pacific Division:
- Coyotes prospect Filip Westerlund is in talks to remain with Timra in Sweden, Timra manager Kent Norberg indicated to Lo Hagerfelth of HockeyPuls. He played well in the second-tier Allsvenskan this season and picked up four goals and 17 assists in 52 regular season games while logging more ice time than he was getting previously in the SHL. The 21-year-old was a second-round pick of Arizona back in 2017 so if he does indeed sign an extension (Norberg stated that a decision is expected within the week), the Coyotes will only have a short period of time to sign him to an entry-level deal as he must sign by June 1, 2021 or they will lose his NHL rights.
- The accelerated timeline for prospects to sign 2019-20 contracts and burn a year without playing should provide some clarity on Canucks prospect Jack Rathbone, suggests Rick Dhaliwal of TSN 1040 and The Athletic (Twitter link). The 21-year-old defenseman is set to enter his junior year at Harvard if there winds up being an NCAA season in 2020-21 but the uncertainty surrounding that could be enough encouragement for him to sign his entry-level deal and forego his remaining college eligibility. Rathbone was a fourth-round pick (95th overall) back in 2017 and has quickly outperformed his draft spot as he averaged over a point per game this season with seven goals and 24 assists in 28 games.