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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  • 1ncinawhile

    I believe Talbot will have a better season next year – I’m not ready to give up on him. He’s still young. His consistency will improve, and we will see more of the good goaltending than the bad…

    • ubermiguel

      Talbot’s 30, not exactly young. Part way through next year we’ll have a better idea if Talbot is the goalie we saw this year, or the one we saw previous years. He’s been inconsistent enough though even if he improves I don’t think he deserves much of a raise from his current salary. $4.1M puts him comfortably in with other 2nd tier goalies.

      • 1ncinawhile

        Sorry, you’re right – he isn’t young… I guess what I was meaning was, for a goalie he isn’t old, and he is a fairly new NHL starter… I agree with you though, the question is: which is the Talbot we get next year? (This year’s or last year’s Talbot)… some would argue there isn’t much a difference in the two

        • Kneedroptalbot

          Too Inconsistent, cost us the Anaheim series last year. 3 goals in less the 5 mins then one in OT. Was a big reason this season was wasted too. Team will never be a Stanley Cup contender until we find consistent goaltending.

          • jultz=2cups!??

            So by your logic, a 5 min span cost a hockey TEAM, a 7 game playoff series?? No fault lies with the rest of the TEAM?? And you’re also implying that over his career that because of that 5 minute span that he is an inconsistent goalie?? ?. That’s just ridiculous. 5 minutes of hockey does not define a goalie. I guarantee you don’t actually watch oiler games because cam was anything but inconsistent last year. Like I said to spyder earlier, don’t let your personal bias get in the way of facts. Cam has had a down year as have the rest of the team except Mcdavid, drai, nurse and Russell. There’s not a goalie in the world that could have willed this team into the playoffs

        • Oilman99

          No blame on Talbot last year, with a NHL quality defence I’m not so sure his stats would be nearly as bad. Shame on you for laying the blame on him alone. The guy will prove you wrong. Just like Dubie did after he was dumped.

    • 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.

  • Dr. Merkwurdigliebe

    Talbot has had an awful year but outside of McDavid, so has the rest of the team. So far, he’s had one excellent season, and one crappy season with the Oil. He deserves another shot at it but he needs help on defence. I think he’ll bounce back next season.

  • Hemmercules

    If I’m Chia, I shop for another goalie and hopefully keep Talbot as well for next season. Possibly trade Montoya and something else for someone to push Talbot or even take his spot. Or if somehow a solid #1 became available then trade Talbot to get him, not a likely scenario. I don’t see him getting extended before he plays a few weeks worth of games next season. Talbot isn’t a goalie thats going to steal the game very often, he needs solid defence in front of him or he’s a bit of mess. I’m not sure the goalie market is brimming with available guys right now either, they need to find a young gem like other teams seem to pull off now and then.

    I think it plays out more like Talbot as the bonafide starter next season, see if he falters again and then either extend him after Christmas or deadline trade him if they are tanking again.

    • cmandev77

      Talk in Washington is Holtby may be available because of the emergence of Grubauer and with Samsonov coming in next year. Holtby is expensive and I doubt we have the resources to make this trade but I would prefer Grubauer anyways. I guess it all depends on who Washington values more.

    • oilerjed

      I cant imagine that spending any assets to aquire a marginally better goalie at a higher cap hit(probably) is the answer. Talbot is a good goalie that has slow starts. If there was any sort of team in front of him this year then those early goals wouldn’t be a problem, and late in the year he seems to find his game. He’s a keeper but at a reasonable salary similar to what he is making now. I do agree with finding someone who can push him though. It would fantastic if the oil had a backup that was able to put numbers better the .905.

  • KennyG

    Unfortunately past performances mean very little with most aging nhl players. It’s only about now and going forward. Let’s say the two injured def come back to old form next season. If that happens and and his play is still the same….. very simple then to let him go. There’s a lot of good things that can happen next year or a lot bad. Let’s hope for the best but plan for worse.

  • 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.

  • Snoop Scottie Dogg

    Chia needs to do the same thing as he did with Talbot. Trade for a backup with some potential. It’s is obvious that LB will be gone because he is worse than Talbot is…at his worst. If there is some young (capable) blood ready to go if he faultures it may get him playing his best again. If not, on to the goalie scrap yard with Talbot.

  • 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.

  • geoilersgist

    If by xmas next year he is back to his old ways I would easily offer him another 3 years at his same salary. There aren’t exactly a ton of jobs for starting goalies around the league so he isn’t likely to get a raise as a FA going elsewhere. It is a bad idea abandon him after one bad season.

  • Himynameistaylor

    Dude has started 133 games and counting over the past two years and is a new father, but ya let’s trade one of the three guys who dragged this roster to the second round of the post season because he’s had a difficult season, LOL.

    Never change, Oilersnation.

        • Hemmercules

          Talbot has one good season as the starter and one bad season as the starter. He’s done pretty well coming in as the backup in NY but I venture to guess that their defence at the time was leaps and bounds ahead of Edmontons at the time and probably even now. I like Talbot but don’t give him the moon for one awesome season, and if true starter is available they should try to land him.

          • acesaaron

            I’d keep him on. He is a decent goalie on a reasonable contract and will likely not command a huge raise. If you cut him loose after 1 bad season, I guarantee you that he’s going to be Dubnyk 2.0 and challenge for the Vezina on a few years #becauseoilers

  • toprightcorner

    Talbot has bounced back and will be his old self next year, Sekera and Klefbom injuries didn’t help. Even with this crappy season he is a career .918 save %. He will still end up with over 30 wins this year.

    I try to resign him this summer for 3 more years at roughly the same salary or a little raise of $4.5. You won’t find a replacement of his ability for near that price. Use his down year to the teams advantage to extend him cheaper. If he had the same season as last year, you would have to pay him over $6 mill.

    Sign a more veteran backup like Khudobin.

  • Brad_Wesley

    Sign him right now if he’s willing. This is how you get value. If you wait until next year and he starts to perform again then his price just goes straight up. Now if I’m Talbot, I don’t touch an extension now and I bet on myself. However if he’s willing to sign an extension now, you do it. With the Oiler’s cap situation you can’t afford not to.

    • crabman

      I think if you offered Talbot a 3 year extension at his same salary today he would jump at that as long as he and his family is happy here. He is an undrafted goalie who didn’t play an NHL game until he was 26 and wasn’t a team starter until he was 28. He turns 31 this summer and another 3 year extension would see him make over $4M a year until he is 35. Not bad for a player that was never supposed to be here and I think he knows it.

  • Connor McFly

    As to your question, my answer is no. I have no confidence in Talbot with the way he folded his cards and seemed to quit. More importantly do Oilers management have any confidence in Talbot. He has lost alot of credibility. The poor defence and the sorry collection of forwards is on Chiarelli. Talbot has dropped the ball and that is on him.

    • Himynameistaylor

      How is one players inconsistency (which is often based on the team around him in his position) his fault but the other players aren’t held accountable? Chiarelli should’ve signed a solid backup to support Talbot, I don’t care who you are you can’t start 133+ games and play the same way nightly.

    • jultz=2cups!??

      Please elaborate on how and when talbot “quit”? When did this happen? Because I’m pretty sure he’s playing better now than he was earlier in the season….? I’ll be waiting for this doozy of an answer.

        • Rugbypig

          So . . . . . . . one game hmmmm. . . . . me thinks you are not looking hard at posting a true representation of what has happened.
          In the games 41 to 60 his average is 0.921SV% please elaborate how you get to cherry pick to prove you are NOT biased, lover boy of Jordan Eberle. (Boy was that pathetic diatribe of drivel not at all unlike what Spyder is doing to Talbot)

  • CMG30

    I think he’s still the guy but I also think he’s the type of guy that needs to be pushed. Don’t throw money at him for a long term extension. Instead keep him on short ‘show me’ extensions. Also, make sure there is a competent backup around. Complacency is the enemy here.

  • Dobbler

    If he plays well next year, re-up him for another short “show me” contract. Good players can have a bad year. No or minimal raise. 1-3 years (depending on how well he plays). If not, start planning to replace him today. If he plays great, don’t execute the plan. The Oilers have turfed too many goalies without having a backup plan. There are some serviceable/good UFA’s coming available in 2018 and 2019. Or offer sheet Gibson in 2019 (assuming we have any cap space left by then). It’s nearly impossible to have a successful team in the NHL without at least reasonable goaltending.

  • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

    BRING HIM BACK! BRING HIM BACK! I’m tired of people being run out of this town just because of one bad season. Talbot had a rough start, but he recovered well in 2015/2016. Last season, he was a workhorse, setting a new franchise record for wins by a goalie whilst being our MVP (people say it was McDavid, but he’s put up more points this season and the team isn’t making the playoffs). This season hasn’t gone well and I think it was the workload last season that wore him out. And are you all seriously blaming him for the loss in game 5? He made 60 saves that game. That’s like blaming James Reimer for Toronto blowing Game 7 vs Boston. But hey, when all else fails, blame the goalie am I right?

  • Dapper Dan 3099

    I love seeing how dumb some people get when they’re emotional…. “get rid of Talbot” and the classic follow up of get a real starter…. ok who? …. holy man, the usual gaggle of idiots were the same ones that claimed that mcdavid isn’t worth his contract and should be traded, and drai should be dumped for a bad of pucks…. that’s right guys let’s trade or get rid of our best players (cuz that’s obviously the problem here)

    • jultz=2cups!??

      It’s pretty clear real oiler fans are being trolled by guys like kneedroptalbot, randaman, schultzandscores and that beer guy. None of them ever have anything good to say. It’s always “TRADETHEMALL” or “I’m quitting this team” with those guys. I can tell spyder is a fan, he just hates talbot and eberle for some reason. ?

      • Randaman

        So how does not being a Talbot supporter make me a troll? I don’t expect or accept mediocrity like you do. It’s pretty sad how an opposing opinion makes people trolls just because we refuse to put the blinders on like you do. Go back to your basement!

        • Dapper Dan 3099

          No need to get so pissy…if you want to talk hockey, I’m all for it (even if you disagree) just don’t be one of these trade everyone, or we need to get other teams stars for our bums suggestions…..So I’m curious who do you replace him with that would not be settling for mediocrity… I understand and agree that we shouldn’t settle for mediocrity, but you have to have a plan in place to replace certain players….just shipping everyone out will not only make the team continue to be the laughing stock of the league, but the half decent players will not even consider coming here because of the “one bad season and you’re out” rule…. I think talbot is the best option for us next year (at this time) (although I think he would play better if he had someone challenging him) … if he stinks up the joint next year, then you see what you’re other options are to replace him

      • A-co

        10 million a year on a goalie is too much…I compare goalies to putters…my last 4 putters I’ve used the grip cost more than the putter itself…do you use your putter every hole? More than likely…with a goalie there are so many goalies out there looking to prove they can be a starter I don’t see why you would sign a goalie for more than 3 years and throw big money at the same time…I would be on the lookout for backups looking to break out as a starter and give them a shot..if they work out awesome if not NEXT…when the time comes that they want big money thank them for their time and find a new putter…

  • 0W-20

    Wait and see. It would be typical Chiarelli to sign an unproven player at an above market rate before free agency and eat into the precious little cap space EDM needs to recover from the terrible Lucic and Draisaitl deals. Do nothing! Let Talbot prove that this poor season is the outlier and not last year. While there may not be enough quality goalies, it would be worse to pay Talbot $5M+/yr to extend him when his skill level is more suited to a backup. Exhibit A: Niemi, Antti. Exhibit B: Lehtonen, Kari.

    • Dapper Dan 3099

      I can agree with letting talbot prove next year that he is the long term solution, the risk with that is that if he starts playing well again , his price tag will go up with every game played …and with our cap that could be an issue

  • McFanboy

    Is it fair to write off LB as a future option at this point? He’s still relatively young for a goaltender at 25. I agree he hasn’t looked good so far, but is there any chance he could still develop into a capable backup?

    • Kneedroptalbot

      RJ, I think a lot of us die hard fans have been evaluating Cam Talbot since the beginning of last year. Some nights he’s really good. Other nights just gawd awful, and out of position, going down early out of his crease.
      It’s very difficult for a young team to play with inconsistent goaltending. I sincerely hope the Oilers find that young prospect goalie who can lead them to greatness. Maybe it’s Nick Ellis? Not many prospects in the system right now.