Edmonton Oilers goalie Mike Smith may have played his last game in the NHL Monday night, when the team was ousted from the playoffs by the Colorado Avalanche.
While Smith was clear that reports of him considering retirement are false, he also didn’t commit to returning for 2022/23.
“I have no idea at this point,” Smith replied when asked if he can play as number one goalie next season.
“It’s been a grind for sure. I’m not getting any younger. I don’t know where I’m going to be at. I know it’s been a lot more difficult this year than in year’s past.”
Smith, who turned 40 in March, missed most the first half of the season with injuries.
He was stellar down the stretch of the regular season for the Oilers and started all 16 playoff games.
“To look ahead now, after you get ousted of the conference finals, it’s hard to see where you’re going to be in the next two days — let alone four months from now. There are a lot of things to deal with mentally and physically. That doesn’t have to be decided in the next three minutes,” Smith said.
The future of winger Evander Kane is also a big question mark for the Oilers.
After signing with the Oilers mid-season, Kane had 39 points in 43 regular season games. In the playoffs, he had 13 goals and four assists in 15 games.
His cap hit with the Oilers was $2.1-million — his next contract could be quadruple that.
“There are so many different variables, guys. We just finished the season yesterday,” Kane said at Tuesday’s news conference.
“There is lots to sort through and figure out before I start thinking about that.”
Leon Draisaitl said Kane added to the team in a positive way.
“We’re very happy with how he came to our team, what he brought to our team on the ice,” Draisaitl said. “Off the ice, he was amazing. He was a great team guy. Put the team first.”
Kane acknowledged that his tenure with the Oilers went even better than he expected.
“I’ve been very happy with my time here. The fans have been phenomenal. The people in the city have been phenomenal,” said Kane.
“This has got to be the best organization I’ve played for. I have no complaints.”
Kane was suspended for what turned out to be the final game of the Oilers season Monday night — a 6-5 overtime loss to Colorado.