The Oilers will roll with Mikko Koskinen and Stuart Skinner for the rest of the trip.
Dave Tippett said Thursday that Mike Smith has encountered setbacks in his recovery from a lower-body injury and has been sent back to Edmonton for further evaluation.
“He had a setback in practice, so he came back for further evaluation in Edmonton,” Tippett said. “The moment will be (Mikko) Koskinen and (Stuart) Skinner.
“It’s worrying [that he’s been out for so long] because he seems to be some step ahead, then going out, working a little bit and having taken a step back. That’s definitely a concern. He spent the last few days and near the end of the training session, sort of tweaking some things. So I decided I wanted to go back. I think today they’re going to do some more pictures of it and we’re going to read more about it at home. ”
Smith started the first three games of the Edmonton season. He stopped 81 of 85 shots in back-to-back wins over the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames, then scored four on 15 shots in Anaheim against the Ducks. Smith left that game in the second period after Devin Shore collided with him.
Edmonton’s scoring ability wasn’t a big deal in Smith’s absence.
Through eight appearances, seven starts and one reliever in the Anaheim game, Mikko Koskinen has a .920 save percentage. Stuart Skinner posted a .946 save percentage in his first two games against the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors and stopped 35 of 38 shots in his 2021-22 NHL debut against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday.
The question is how long Koskinen and Skinner will last. Koskinen famously had trouble taking on a larger workload, and Skinner had only two NHL experience games. If Smith ends up out for the long term, we could see the Oilers look at the goalscorer trade market, as they did in the off-season when they reportedly tried to buy Darcy Kuemper.