NHL Rumors: Oilers Management Set 'Retirement Deadline' For 2 Players

According to hockey insider Elliotte Friedman, Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland has requested that goaltender Mike Smith and defenseman Duncan Keith both inform him by July 1st if they intend to play hockey next season. 

The 'retirement deadline' was set for a couple of weeks before free agency begins as the Oilers brass want to know exactly what holes need to be filled for next season. Smith was very candid after the Oilers were eliminated as he admitted he wasn't sure what his future held and it sounded like retirement for the 40-year-old goalie was a real possibility. While the Oilers had some success in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, there was no doubt Smith was taken a bunch of the blame for some untimely soft goals and some major mistakes at key points of the hockey game. He finished the postseason with a 3.37 GAA and a .913 SV.%. He's under contract for next season at $2.2 million.

As for Keith, he went to Edmonton to be closer to his son and his family life could potentially pull him away from the game. Keith's played 1256 career NHL regular season games and another 151 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He's under contract in 2022-23 for $5.5 million and in his first season in Edmonton chipped in with 21 points in 64 games. 

Holland and company await their decisions as the Oilers GM is taking a ton of heat for not trading for an elite netminder at the trade deadline. We'll see what kind of magic he can pull off this summer as things are heating up in Edmonton and his seat may be getting awfully warm. 

Photo credit: Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports