It’s been exactly ten weeks since Oilers goaltender Mike Smith suffered a lower body injury against the Anaheim Ducks. Soon, he looks to be back in game action.
"I'm available."— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) December 28, 2021
No confirmed starter for tomorrow in St. Louis yet, but some good news from #Oilers skate today with Smith indicating he's ready to return. pic.twitter.com/KgTaqSrsNf
It’s been a long time coming for Mike Smith, who experienced a setback during a November practice while the Oilers were on the road. Smith returned back to Edmonton, where it was determined he’d need some more time to recover.
Smith was in the middle of just his third start of the season when he went down with an injury. Since he’s been gone, it’s been a mix of Mikko Koskinen and Stuart Skinner in net. Results? They’ve been mixed. Mikko Koskinen leads the team with twelve wins, he’s put up a .902 SV% over the course of the season. Stuart Skinner was called up after Smith was injured, he’s appeared in ten games and put up a nice enough .916 SV% so far.
The Oilers kept winning in Smith’s absence. They also endured a six game losing streak, but have rebounded with two straight wins. How much difference will Mike Smith make in net?
A healthy Smith has a pretty decent chance at outplaying Mikko Koskinen in his return. Koskinen’s .902 SV% ranks 30th among goaltenders appearing in 14 or more games this season. Even a modest showing of .910 would be an improvement over Koskinen, but it won’t matter much if the Oilers fall back into scoring nine goals in six games like they did on their recent winless streak. Also; key word is healthy. If Smith is even moderately good in his return, the Oilers will likely try to make an upgrade on Mikko Koskinen as they hope to make waves in the playoffs.
Again, keyword healthy.
Smith could start tomorrow night as the Oilers play their first game in ten nights as the Oilers are in St. Louis to face the Blues.