EdmontonOilers.com is checking in with Oilers players and prospects in our Roster Reboot series as they discuss their summer activities and gear up for the 2019-20 season.
EDMONTON, AB - Mikko Koskinen admitted it was difficult adjusting to the size of a National Hockey League rink when he backstopped the Oilers during the 2018-19 season.
But after 55 appearances last year, the keeper feels much more comfortable heading into the 2019-20 campaign.
"Yeah, I'm sure it's easier now," Koskinen told EdmontonOilers.com via phone from Finland.
"At the start, it took quite a lot of time to get used to the rink and all the angles. Now, it's easier. I know what to expect and what I need to do better this year. It helps a lot to prepare for the upcoming season."
The 31-year-old is back home training in Helsinki as he gears up for his second campaign manning the twine for the Orange & Blue. Koskinen, who went 25-21-6 with a .906 save percentage, 2.93 goals-against average and four shutouts in '18-19, spoke at length with Oilers Goaltending Coach Dustin Schwartz at the end of the season to identify what areas of his game need to be improved to build off his first year back in North America.
"Of course, we talked quite a lot after the season ended about what we need to do better next year," Koskinen said. "I've been working with those things on and off the ice."
Video: AUDIO | Mikko Koskinen Interview
The 6-foot-7 guardian displayed strong stretches in '18-19 and saw his usage increase as the season wore on. Koskinen connected winning streaks of three or more games four times during the campaign and finished the year with a 3-1 win over Calgary in a match that featured a goaltender's duel against recently signed netminder Mike Smith.
Now, Koskinen is prepared to co-exist in the crease with the former Flames goaltender and hopes to learn a thing or two from the 13-year NHL veteran.
"We sent a few messages when he signed with us," Koskinen said of his communication with Smith.
"I haven't met him yet but I'm really looking forward to seeing him in September. I know that he's a great goalie. Hopefully, I can learn a lot from him."
Koskinen, who is slated to return to Edmonton near the end of August, is aware that there will be a new management and coaching group leading the Oilers when he returns to Oil Country. The Finn is looking forward to working with Head Coach Dave Tippett as well as President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Ken Holland.
"Ken Holland is one of the best GMs in the history of the NHL," Koskinen said. "So, it's going to be great to work with him and also with Tippett. I've heard he's a great coach. I'm really looking forward to working with those guys."