The woeful state of the Edmonton Oilers' goaltending has been the prime culprit behind the club's 2-9-2 record. With brittle starter Mike Smith frequently sidelined, backup Mikko Koskinen struggling and third-stringer Stuart Skinner with just 10 NHL games under his belt, speculation is growing over how general manager Ken Holland will address the situation.
TSN's Darren Dreger reported Holland is considering trade options. His colleague Pierre LeBrun wondered if he's among the GMs making calls about the Dallas Stars' Anton Khudobin. Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman mused over whether the Oilers general manager might pursue a rental goalie like Marc-Andre Fleury of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Cap Friendly shows the Oilers nearly maxed out on salary-cap space. Holland would have to ship out a contract and perhaps attempt to convince the Blackhawks to retain a healthy portion of Fleury's $7-million cap hit. That's assuming the Oilers aren't on Fleury's 10-team no-trade list.
The Blackhawks could prefer waiting until closer to the trade deadline to move Fleury. Holland might have to consider another option like Khudobin if he seeks immediate help.
Khudobin, 35, struggled earlier this season, falling behind Braden Holtby and Jake Oettinger in the Stars' goalie pecking order. After clearing waivers last month he was demoted to their AHL affiliate.
A change of scenery could help Khudobin regain his form. He carries an affordable $3.333-million cap hit through 2022-23, though the cap-strapped Oilers might still have to get creative to squeeze him within their limited payroll.
The Columbus Blue Jackets' Joonas Korpisalo could be the best option. The 27-year-old is a pending UFA carrying a reasonable $2.8-million cap hit and could be keen to prove his worth in his contract year.