The Edmonton Oilers handed a three-year, $13.5-million contract extension to goaltender Mikko Koskinen on Monday – and all indications suggest this was an unnecessary overpay by general manager Peter Chiarelli.
A second-round pick by the New York Islanders in 2009, Koskinen joined the Oilers on a one-year, $2.5-million deal last offseason after spending the preceding nine years in the KHL. He's become Edmonton's No. 1 netminder, largely due to the struggles of Cam Talbot.
The 30-year-old Koskinen's been inconsistent in his first season in North America in nearly a decade. He owns a .911 save percentage and a 2.78 goals-against average in 27 games, and he enjoyed a hot streak shortly after Ken Hitchcock replaced Todd McLellan as Oilers head coach. However, in his last 11 appearances, he's gone 3-7-0 with an .879 save percentage.
Given his recent struggles, why extend Koskinen at all, let alone now?
Talbot is a pending unrestricted free agent after this season and doesn't appear to be in Edmonton's plans. The franchise likely wanted to assure itself of having an NHL netminder signed beyond this season. Extending Koskinen to do so, though, compounds the Oilers' long-standing mediocrity in the crease and makes their salary-cap situation that much more hairy.