Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

WWYDW: Cam Talbot’s next contract

There’s no way around it — Cam Talbot has had a bad season. He’s at the top of the list of disappointments among this group that has ultimately massively underperformed expectations. After his first two seasons with the club and a 2016-17 season in which he finished fourth in Vezina Trophy voting, starting goaltending was never an issue that crossed the minds of Oilers fans.

But Talbot has struggled mightily this year. For the season, he has a .907 save percentage in 62 games. He’s posted just one shutout and he’s allowed the most goals of any goalie in the league. This, of course, is shocking given how good he had been in his career before this season. Last year, he posted a .919 save percentage in a whopping 73 games, and in the previous three seasons, he averaged a .924 save percentage with the Oilers and Rangers. So it isn’t like he just randomly popped out of nowhere in 2016-17. He had been quite good before.

That brings us to this week’s What Would You Do Wednesday question. How do you handle Talbot’s next contract? He’s signed for one more year before he can hit the open market. At this point last year, it seemed like a no-brainer he should be inked long-term. But is that still the case after this year’s showing?

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Jan 7, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Ryan Hartman (38) shoots on Edmonton Oilers goalie Cam Talbot (33) with defenseman Kris Russell (4) defending during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Talbot is signed for one more season at a very team-friendly $4,166,667 cap hit. Peter Chiarelli inked Talbot to that three-year extension back in January 2016, just a few months into the goaltender’s tenure as an Oiler. Despite not having a massive track record, the Oilers put faith into Talbot, and, save for this season, it’s paid off.

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While the down season is tremendously disappointing, it could provide the team an opportunity to get Talbot signed to an extension at a lower price than he would have been able to command had he matched his 2016-17 season. Like I said, Talbot is set to hit the open market on July 1, 2019, meaning the Oilers have all summer and next season to work on an extension with him if they please.

Personally, I’m of the mind that Talbot is still the goalie of the future. He’s been largely excellent throughout his career and he’s struggled this year. I believe a large chunk of that has to do with the team in front of him. The blueline is noticeably worse in the defensive zone this year, which is inevitable given the injuries to Andrej Sekera and Oscar Klefbom. I would rather bank on the 180 games he played in his first four years than the 60 he played this year to determine who he is as a player.

It’s also really difficult to find a goalie. Between Talbot and the team’s last good goalie Dwayne Roloson, we rotated through guys like Ben Scrivens, Viktor Fasth, Ilya Bryzgalov, Devan Dubnyk, Jeff Deslauriers, and Nikolai Khabibulin. The free agent market doesn’t have many enticing names either, unless you’re willing to wait until 2019 to throw a bunch of money at Sergei Bobrovsky or Pekka Rinne. So even if the Oilers decide Talbot isn’t their guy, it’s difficult to find a superior replacement.

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What say you, Nation? Is Talbot still the goalie of the future? Does he have to prove it next year? Or should he be signed to an extension this summer? 

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  • percy

    PC better not drop the ball this year. Oilers need to acquire another goalie to push Talbot for #1 spot. Thats all they had to do last year but couldn’t figure that one out. Good chance we would have made the playoffs. Then go and search for a top D man. One step at a time but in a positive direction. Keep your foot on the gas,,,, dont let up. Getting tired of this” BS ” . Get the job done or get out of the way and let some one else get it done.

  • Big Nuggets

    I think Talbot will be better next season. Although I think that about many players this season so maybe I am optimistic. An NHL callibre back-up would be a nice addition. Not sure why Chia waited until mid season to waist a pick on Montoya. Anyway to the people calling for a new starting goalie how exactly do you want to acquire this new starting goalie? The roster has enough holes already and the prospect pool is shallow, with Talbot a strong bounce-back candidate I think the right move is find a new back-up and keep Talbs as the starter.

  • Cowboy Bill

    It’s a contract year for Talbot . There is no doubt Talbot will be in prime form next season , as long as the team in front of him is up to par . Montoya is a capable NHL back up at a reasonable cost . What will it cost to find a goalie to push Talbot . The key is to improve the team defensively , because it doesn’t matter who is in net with the type of porous defense the Oilers played this season .

  • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

    Many of you seem to forget a few things about Talbot, and I think last season’s success masked it.

    1. Last season was the first time Talbot played 50+ games in his career. He played 72 GAMES!!!!!!!!!!!!
    2. Anyone who blames Talbot for the Oilers losing in the playoffs needs to give their head a shake and really start thinking about what they’re writing. He had a .924 sv% in the playoffs!
    3. Talbot’s already played 62 games thus far this season and he’s on pace for 67 total.
    4. He set the FRANCHISE WINS record last season with 42 AND was 4th in Vezina voting

    But sure, just because he’s having a down year, go ahead a trade him. I suppose the trade to acquire him was a fail too?

    • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

      Oh and wasn’t Talbot tied for 1st with 42 wins last season? And wasn’t he 3rd with 8 shutouts? Oh and didn’t he lead the league in starts, minutes played, shots faced, and saves made? But sure, just go and trade him. By this logic, if McDavid scores 20 points next season, all of you will be calling for him to be traded.

      • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

        Oh and one final point since all of you are CLEARLY in favour of this. I’m not going to deny Talbot had a rough start to the 2015/2016 campaign. It was his first time as an NHL starter, so I’ll give him a pass for that. But from December on, I believe he was top 3 in save percentage. Look the point is, Talbot IS a good goaltender. Do you really think he’s worth trading after 1 bad season. Need I remind you of what happened to Devan Dubnyk when he got away from this toxic fanbase

  • percy

    Maybe we have a suitable back up in Montoya, why they hadn’t been playing him baffles me. What do we have to lose. He is better than LB. They should be playing Montoya. Maybe he might prove to be strong enough to get us through the times when Talbot struggles. If that’s the case up grading our def becomes the priority this summer. One step forward two steps back (oilers motto)

  • JimmyV1965

    I’m not sure how you can say Talbot has been great here. He has been horribly inconsistent. He crapped the bed to start the season two out of the three years he’s been here. We should be talking about what backup we have in place to start the season, not a contract extension this summer.