It looks like Cam Talbot has done enough to be entrusted with goaltending duties in Edmonton over the long haul. As per multiple reports Sunday morning, the club has given the pending free agent a contract extension, for three years and with an annual value just over 4.0 million.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) January 17, 2016
Can Talbot’s three-year extension with #oilers carries a $4.167 AAV. He was a pending UFA.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) January 17, 2016
Cam Talbot 3-year breakdown $4.15 (includes $1 mill bonus on July 1), $4.15, $4.2. No-move for 1st two years and modified no-move in yr 3
— Andy Strickland (@andystrickland) January 17, 2016
Talbot’s overall save percentage on the season is a respectable 0.914, a figure which ranks him 22nd of the 34 goaltenders to play in at least 20 games this year. That ties him with Martin Jones, puts him one point up on Antti Niemi and one point back of Frederik Andersen, Steve Mason and Tuukka Rask (who had a miserable start to the year).
The breakdown is pretty interesting in that he’s been great on the penalty kill and not so hot at even-strength:
- His 0.907 save percentage in 4-on-5 situations ranks 7th of the 30 goalies to play at least 100 minutes.
- His 0.911 save percentage in 5-on-5 situations ranks 27th of the 27 goalies to play at least 1000 minutes.
Of course, one generally doesn’t make decisions based entirely on the short-term. Talbot’s career numbers are significantly better than what he’s managed this season:
- Over his three-year career, he has a 0.927 save percentage in 5-on-5 situations. Of the 62 goalies to play at least 1,500 minutes over that span, he ranks 21st.
- Over his three-year career, he has a 0.920 save percentage in 4-on-5 situations. Of the 58 goalies to play at least 200 minutes over that span, nobody has performed better.
If Talbot’s new deal were to begin today, he’d rank 24th among goalies league-wide in terms of compensation, which seems about right, just ahead of Jonathan Bernier and his $4.15 million contract. If he can provide the Oilers with the kind of bottom-third starter play that his even-strength numbers suggest, that’s probably fair value.
If he’s a legitimate starting goalie, Edmonton wins this deal comfortably for the next three years. If his even-strength numbers this year are a sign of what is to come, Edmonton loses this deal badly. Right now, all we can really say is that this deal isn’t a discount and carries some risk but also has a chance of paying off.
The Oilers have seen two versions of Talbot. He had a 0.897 save percentage over 10 games in October and a 0.864 save percentage over three games in November, losing his job to Anders Nilsson. He had a 0.934 save percentage over seven games in December and a 0.942 save percentage over six games in January, winning that job back again. It may be that there was an adjustment to being a starter and to playing in Edmonton; it may also be that he’s an average or below average goalie who hit a cold run but is now on a hot streak.
We’ll just have to wait and see whether this gamble pays off.