The Oilers are in desperate need of a new (preferably good) goaltender, and they have their eyes set on Cam Talbot. This is not breaking news. We’ve known they like Talbot for a long time and a lot of digital ink has been spilled discussing how he might just be the right fit. But it’s not all bubblegum and rainbows with Talbot. There are risks.
First and foremost let’s get this out of the way: I like like Cam Talbot as a trade option because I have been convinced that he has the requisite skills for the job. However, just because you like something doesn’t mean you should pay through the nose to get it. In any negotiation you have to be willing to walk away at some point, and that point will vary depending on your needs and your situation.
The verbal on the Talbot trade negotiations has been that the number of teams interested has ballooned considerably and it includes other teams looking for a 1G as well as others looking for a capable backup. That’s great for New York, not particularly great for anyone else.
That said, what we need to remember is that Cam Talbot isn’t the only goaltender available. In fact, he is far from it. He might be the main target, but there are others and that can’t be forgotten when his price starts to rise.
For those who want to read a really great post about the goaltenders on the market there is a fantastic one by Woodguy right here.
To shorten the arguments for acquiring Talbot down a bit, here are the main attractions.
- He’s just 27 and thus should be in the prime of his career.
- He ranked 11/48 in Adjusted Save Percentage in 2014-2015
- He ranked 5/58 in Adjusted Save Percentage in 2013-2014
- His Cap Hit is just 1.45M in 2015-2016
These are all big pluses!
Cam Talbot has a lot going for him. He’s a cheap goalie who stands 6’3″ and who has excelled at the NHL level as a backup who was forced to start a good number of games. That is, I imagine, why Darren Dreger tweeted this:
Talbot trade watch continues. Expect he gets traded this week. Buf, Edmtn, SJ and Dallas in the mix. Great contract requires high return.
Now here’s where I quibble with Darren Dreger a little. Cam Talbot does not have a great contract.
Cam Talbot has a great cap hit but his contract is actually going to place whichever team acquires him in a bind. You see, the problem is that Cam Talbot has a one year deal at 1.45M and those one year deals can be difficult. There’s no team that should be more familiar with the problems inherent in the one year deal for a pending UFA than the Edmonton Oilers.
That is exactly the type of situation the Oil found themselves in when they gave Jeff Petry a one year deal last summer. The new CBA rules stipulate that a one year deal cannot be renegotiated until January. Therefore, any team that picks up Talbot must wait until 2016 before they could actually sign him to a new deal. [Note: I am backing off the original statement that the Oilers cannot negotiate at all with Talbot before January but what they cannot do is formally offer him anything that he is able to sign prior to that date as per Article 50.5 of the CBA.]
No matter what either party wants, the power to negotiate a longer deal has been taken away from the Oilers in this scenario, and since Talbot is already 27 that means he is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2015-2016 season. If he has a good season, that puts all of the power squarely in the Talbot camp.
But if he has a good season wouldn’t he want to stay in Edmonton? I would have thought the same thing, at least a little, but let’s look at Devan Dubnyk who was also in this exact situation this past year. He played so well that he garnered Vezina consideration and brought the Wild back to life, but he is just days away from testing unrestricted free agency. All of the power is in the Dubnyk camp and he doesn’t seem willing to take a discount to stay in Minnesota. And he shouldn’t!
If Talbot plays the way the Oilers HOPE he plays (assuming they acquire him) then by January 2016 they might have to pay him North of 4.5M just to keep him. And if he thinks he can command that on the market but doesn’t want to live in Edmonton for the next four years then he doesn’t have to sign a thing.
Cam Talbot has been identified as a target of trade by that Oilers and his performance in the NHL has identified him as a potential candidate for starting duties. However, his NHL resume is still just 57 games long and nobody who trades for him will be able to negotiate a deal with him until the next calendar year begins. He’s most definitely still worth a gamble, but the gamble should be allowing him to begin next season as the starter. The gamble should not be that he is worth paying an extreme price for. He is guaranteed to be nothing more than a long term rental.That fact cannot be lost in the excitement of the chase.
Cam Talbot does not have a great contract for a team looking to pick him up. Cam Talbot has a great contract for a man who is ready to prove his value as a starter to the entire NHL, much the way Devan Dubnyk did this past season.