Mikko Koskinen

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Oilers bet on Koskinen with three-year extension

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The Edmonton Oilers have apparently made a decision on their goaltending for the next three years. On Monday, the team announced that they’ve extended Mikko Koskinen for three years with total salary of $13.5M.

“We are excited to have signed Mikko to a three-year contract extension through the 2022 season,” said Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli. “Mikko has a lot of experience as a number one goalie and has performed well both internationally and for our club.”

That $4.5M salary cap hit means that Cam Talbot, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, will likely be moving on after the season. Koskinen has a .918 even strength save percentage in 27 games this season after spending the last seven seasons in the KHL and Finland.

Per Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, Koskinen will make $5.2M next season, $3.3M with a $500,000 signing bonus in 2020-2021, and $4.5M in 2021-22. The deal also includes a limited no-trade clause.

Where did this extension come from? Koskinen’s recent numbers haven’t been strong (.906 ESSV% since Jan. 1) and it’s not like there was going to be a strong market for a soon-to-be 31-year-old goaltender with mediocre numbers come free agency in July. The worst part of this for the Oilers is that there is a very good chance Chiarelli isn’t in his job come October, so the next general manager of the team will inherit this contract.

Was there a rush to lock up a starter for next season and beyond for the Oilers? Was Chiarelli thinking Koskinen’s price would rocket up if he played well over the final three months of the regular season? What is Talbot’s status as the Feb. 25 trade deadline approaches? Is he now, along with forward Jesse Puljujarvi, a piece of trait bait to shore up one of their numerous holes?

The Oilers are only three points out of a Western Conference wild card spot, and with jobs on the line, as well as the pressure of season ticket renewals approaching, there’s a full-on playoff push by the organization and an attempt to set up their future in a positive way. But given the previous decisions of the current regime, don’t bet on it.

MORE: Oilers shuffle more deck chairs, waive Spooner and Rattie

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Vote for the Save of the Week (February 7-13)

To celebrate the best moments of each week, we’ll put up a poll to see which goal/save/whatever was the most amazing of a given seven days. We might not always have one per day and sometimes there will be more than seven to choose from, but all you need to do is vote for your favorite.

Because putting a handful of videos in one post will bog down some internet connections, we’ll simply insert a link to each post.

You can also vote for the week’s best goal here.

February 7

Save of the Night: Ondrej Pavelec.

February 8

Save of the Night: James Reimer.

February 9

Save of the Night: Robin Lehner.

February 10

Save of the Night: Mikko Koskinen.

February 11

Save of the Night: Kari Lehtonen.

February 12

Save of the Night: Ilya Bryzgalov.

February 13

Save of the Night: Steve Mason.

Vote for your favorite save in the poll below.

Save of the Night – Kari Lehtonen (February 11)

Aside from the occasional night off – or the even less common instance when a save or goal isn’t deemed worthy – the gang at PHT will decide which tally or stop is the best of any given night. Once those two winners are determined, we’ll share our reasoning (and most importantly, the video clip for each) in posts for your viewing pleasure.

Friday night’s games featured two gorgeous glove saves. New York Islanders goalie Mikko Koskinen made one of them, as he blindly lifted his glove to make a stunning stop, but it wasn’t good enough to earn February 11th’s best save. (Don’t feel too bad for Koskinen, he earned one already for Thursday.)

Nope, the highest mark goes to Dallas Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen, who showed great timing, lateral movement and a fantastic glove to stop a would-be Chicago Blackhawks goal and help his team come back from a 3-0 deficit. Check out “Lehtonen’s larceny” below.

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Save of the night (year?): Islanders goalie Mikko Koskinen robs James Wisniewski

Aside from the occasional night off – or the even less common instance when a save or goal isn’t deemed worthy – the gang at PHT will decide which tally or stop is the best of any given night. Once those two winners are determined, we’ll share our reasoning (and most importantly, the video clip for each) in posts for your viewing pleasure.

Being forced into duty, Islanders goalie Mikko Koskinen sure wasn’t being counted on to do incredible things in goal for New York. After all, he was the sixth goalie the Islanders have had to turn to this season and for all intents and purposes he should be doing all his on-the-job training in the AHL right now.

Instead, he’s getting to start in Montreal against the Canadiens and he’s helping the Islanders win in the shootout while making one of the sickest saves we’ve seen all season long. James Wisniewski was made out to be the victim on this acrobatic diving stop by the Finnish rookie. If we haven’t had a save of the year candidate yet this year, I think we’ve got a front-runner now.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Freak injury gone wrong: Isles goalie Kevin Poulin out for the season

Last night’s freakish injury on Long Island featuring rookie goalie Kevin Poulin going down during warmups leading to Mikko Koskinen’s first NHL start and an Islanders 5-3 loss to Toronto came with a poor outcome for Poulin. The Islanders announced today that Poulin’s injury is a dislocated left kneecap which will require surgery and put him out for the season.

Poulin was starting last night because Rick DiPietro is out for a few weeks with facial fractures and a swollen knee thanks to getting punched out by Brent Johnson. Koskinen was called up to be Poulin’s backup and now the team has called up Joel Martin to join Koskinen in the ever-vacating Islanders goal.

The Islanders do still hold the rights to Evgeni Nabokov but Nabokov continues to sit at home rather than join the Islanders. We know the Isles aren’t a likely playoff team, but Nabokov could do a lot of good will for himself and the team by showing up and trying to avoid the injury boogeyman in Long Island for the rest of the season. That doesn’t appear likely at this time. Instead, the team will sweat it out waiting for Nathan Lawson to get back to health and give the Isles a slightly better rookie option in goal while DiPietro is out.