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Oilers Will Stick With Goaltending Tandem Next Season

Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland has said the team will likely go with a goaltending tandem next season. Who will be the pairing?

A lot of teams are looking for goaltending help this season. The Edmonton Oilers are among them, but their situation is a bit different than most.

Many believe the Oilers have their designated started in Mikko Koskinen all set to go for next season. To make a change in that regard would mean that general manager Ken Holland has seen something he doesn’t like, that he’s prepared to do a lot of work to upgrade and move a number of pieces to make things fit.

There’s been no indication Holland has lost his confidence in Koskinen’s ability, so don’t expect that to happen.

The more likely scenario is that the team looks to upgrade at the backup position. Even though the Oilers like Smith’s leadership, experience and competitiveness, it’s possible what’s available in the market will be an improvement for around the same $2 million price tag. If so, that means letting Smith walk as a free agent.

Oilers Need To Find The Right 1B

Because Koskinen hasn’t necessarily proved he’s a full-time starter that can handle a 60-game load in a season, The Athletic’s Daniel Nugent-Bowman (subscription required) reports that Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland has noted the Oilers will stick with a tandem, even if Smith isn’t part of the equation.

Holland added he was pleased with the team’s goaltending but has been more vocal about the way the coaching staff alternated back and forth between the two. It’s a system Holland likes. It’s one he plans to keep using.

So, Is Smith the Guy?

Speculation is that Smith will be back. The question will be if that’s the right decision. While Smith has a history with head coach Tippett and he’s going to come at a reduced price because there won’t be a lot of other options out there for him in a buyers market for netminders, it’s fair to argue the Oilers could do better.

Some will contend the pairing of Smith and Koskinen isn’t strong enough. They’ll point to how neither come through during the play-in round of the postseason. If Holland agrees, he’ll go shopping. But, one thing that seems clear is that Holland’s not in the market for someone who will cost more than about $1.5 to $2.5 million.

For Oilers fans, it’s time to cross your fingers that this is the right strategy.

Next: Panthers Considering Analyst Eddie Olczyk for GM

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