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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?

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.

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.

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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  • camdog

    Talbot missed 9 games with an injury and is still 1 off the league lead of 63 games played. Over the last 2 years he has played 7 regular season games more than any other goalie. I know some Oiler posters will say that back in the days when Kevin Lowe played hockey, Hall of Fame goalies played 70 games a season all the time and it worked, well it doesn’t work anymore in the NHL. The schedule is condensed, between the World Cup last year and like a 2 week break in January and then you play a whole bunch of games in a row. Oilers need a back up goalie they can trust and a coach willing to play the back up.

  • cmandev77

    Talbot is a tired goalie. He needs a capable back-up who can allow him to rest enough during the season. Not all goalies can play 72 games at the highest level (Martin Brodeur), some can only play 50. Talbot has shown he is an above average goalie and he should be resigned. Give him 4 more years with a decent back-up. Phillip Grubauer may be available if the Caps decide to keep Holtby. Washington is about to have a 3 goalie issue and will need to move 1 next year. Holtby is too expensive for Edmonton but Grubauer is the type of goalie who would challenge Talbot.

  • 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.

    • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

      What kind of stupid remark is that? “Do I think Talbot is a starting NHL goaltender?” How does “If you have to ask the question” immediately = “No I don’t think so”. Because I think so and so does Todd and Chiarelli and 90% of this fanbase, as well as other fans I talk to

  • Edmontoncanucks

    Ditch him!! Poor play at the beginning of last year almost destroyed the playoff hopes. This year was a repeat…waste the first 20 games every year and you will miss the playoffs 9/10.

  • OilersGM

    I wouldn’t resign him in the offseason, I would wait and see until the trade deadline next year and see where he stands at the point and how the season is going even then I would be cautious about a extension. I would see also look to see by the deadline if a better goalie shakes loose.
    Talbot has been too inconsistent in his tenure as an Oiler.