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Photo Credit: Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports

Cam Talbot expects to rebound next season

After yesterday’s practice, Cam Talbot spoke to the media about the season that was, where things went wrong, and what to expect from the goaltender heading into next season. Let’s break it down.

It goes without saying that Cam Talbot hasn’t had the kind of season that he or Oilers fans would have wanted. After setting an Oilers win record last season with 42, Talbot has struggled to find his groove this year and the only real consistency we’ve seen from him is inconsistency. There were games when he’s been great, but also games where he’s been horrible which is never a good look for your starter. While he’s not alone in having a down year, Talbot arguably plays the most important on the ice and it’s tough to win hockey games when your goaltender is struggling so it makes sense that he’ll be taking some heat.

With the season winding down, Talbot spoke to reports and gave an honest assessment of his season and touched on what he expects from himself going forward. When asked about being able to rebound for 2018-19, Talbot had few doubts.

“I have a pretty good feeling.”

Anyone else start singing Black Eyed Peas after reading this quote? Just me? Alright. Anyway…

“If you compare this to my first four years, this is the outlier. It wasn’t just last year. I had three good years before that.”

Historically, Cam Talbot has had better numbers than what we’ve seen this year so I wouldn’t necessarily write him off. He mentioned his last three years being better than what we’ve seen this year and the numbers don’t lie. His last three seasons before this one have seen him with save percentages of .926, .917 and .919 respectively, and those are respectable totals. But can he get back to where he needs to be and get back to being the starter the Oilers need?

“I don’t see myself as two different goaltenders. I see myself as one guy.”

Personally, I’m not in a huge rush to chuck a guy to the curb when a player has a down year every now and then when their historical numbers are solid. There have been stretches, like late in the year when the games didn’t matter, where Talbot looked more like the guy that carried us to the playoffs but we didn’t see it enough. If the Oilers are going to get themselves back into playoff contention then they’re going to need Dadbot to upgrade the software and get control of his game.

“I went through a couple of tough stretches this year that skewed my numbers a little bit, but I’m the same guy year in and year out.”

From where I blog, I saw a guy that looked like he completely lost his confidence and it showed with the kind of goals he allowed. I mean, how else would you explain the plethora of first shot goals that always seemed to sail by him? You know he was in his own head and whatever he was finding there was bad news in shoes. What say you, Talbs?

“Confidence. You go through some of those stretches, sometimes it starts to wear on you mentally.”

Talbot’s year kinda reminded me of the first month or so after he got here when Anders Nilsson was getting the starts. Anyone else remember that? Talbot looked like a shell of himself before finally working it out and finishing the season reasonably well. This year, that struggle went on for six months rather than a few weeks and by the time he turned things around it was too late.

“Once you start rolling and making big saves in big moments, it just continues to snowball.”

Late the season, Talbot has looked much more confident and he’s starting to make the saves that we would expect him to make.

“Throughout the last couple of months, I’ve felt more like myself again.”

Over the last couple months, the poor starts were fewer and further between but it was too late by the time the rebound started to happen. With only two games left in the season, all I can hope is for Talbot to be able to close out both games with a win and try to finish off the year on a high note.

“I’m just going to continue to roll with it, try to finish the season strong and finish where I want to start next year.”

I hope so, Dadbot. Gord knows we’ll need you. Prove the haters wrong, buddy.

McLellan’s Take

When asked about his goaltender, Todd McLellan gave him a jab for struggling but did a good job of not sewering completely.

“I felt, in the second half of the season, he was better.”

I mean, there was a pretty low bar to clear but I would agree with that. What else?

“He was tremendous last year. He was good this year. There’s a difference between being good and tremendous.”

Anybody else get the, “I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed” vibe from this quote? Just me?

“We have to get him back to being tremendous.”

You’re not kidding.

THE WRAP

I know some of you have massive doubts about Cam Talbot going forward and I can appreciate those concerns, but I don’t necessarily agree with you. This isn’t like when the team thought and unproven Ben Scrivens and Viktor Fasth was going to lead us back to the post-season, we’re talking about a guy that’s proven he can play at a high level. His career numbers suggest that he’ll regress, and I would also bet Wanye’s money that he won’t allow 10+ first-shot goals next year either.

In the end, this season has been a nightmare for almost everyone outside of a handful of guys and it’s unfair to pin Talbot for everything that’s happened here. While he does shoulder his fair share of the blame in a season that saw him being pulled seven times (three times in under 10 minutes), but I’m going to hold out my judgement about his ability to do the job until we see how rebounds next year. Is it a gamble? Of course. But, like I said, Talbot’s career numbers would suggest that this season was not the norm and that there’s a good chance he’ll bounce back next year.

What do you guys think?

TALBOT’S CAREER SO FAR

Season Team Lge GP Min GA EN SO GAA W L T Svs Pct
2013-14 Rangers NHL 21 1211 33 0 3 1.64 12 6 1 527 0.941
2014-15 Rangers NHL 36 2095 77 3 5 2.21 21 9 4 961 0.926
2015-16 Oilers NHL 56 3199 137 7 3 2.55 21 27 5 1511 0.917
2016-17 Oilers NHL 73 4308 171 0 7 2.39 42 22 8 1946 0.919
2017-18 Oilers NHL 65 3605 183 0 1 3.05 29 31 3 1782 0.907
NHL Totals   251       19 2.50 125 95 21   0.918

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Source: Global Edmonton, News Outlet, 3/4/2018 – 12:00 pm MST

  • TruthHurts98

    A lot of players expect to have rebound seasons and then don’t. Cam absolutely can if he has another goalie fighting him for every start. If not, I don’t see it. In 15-16 when Nilsson took the starting job away for a bit Talbot upped his game for the last half of the season. Competition is a good thing, but we need a GM that can deliver on a bonafide backup. ie. A new GM is needed or it’ll be more of the same.

  • ellebee

    That’s disturbing.. he’s basically saying, I am capable of playing a lot better, I just chose not to, but have decided to give it my full effort next year?
    OR is it more along the lines of, I didn’t save much money this year, but I plan to win a big 649 jackpot next year?

  • fisherprice

    He also guaranteed the Oilers were going to make the playoffs this year…

    That said, I think he can rebound. I just really hope they don’t continue to play him into the ground. They can say all they want that he “plays better” when he gets more time, but it’s pretty clear he’s fatigued. His positioning is still solid, he still seems to track the puck well, but it just seems like his body is failing him. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen him whiff on a glove save and just look at his arm like it betrayed him. This is the sign of a goalie who’s body isn’t reacting the way he feels it should.

    The fact is very very few goalies are equipped to play 60+ games a year, especially considering how taxing the position is nowadays. Take a look at Braden Holtby, the Caps have run him into the ground the past 3 seasons and his game has fallen off a cliff. Is Holtby bad now? I don’t think so, but he’s started 254 regular season games in the past 4 seasons. It’s no wonder he can’t keep it up. The Brodeur and Luongo’s of this world are few and far between, and average goaltending is so easy to find in this league it blows me away that anyone outside of the elite of the elite approach 60 games.

    The Oilers really need to find someone better than Montoya, because even if he starts 20 games next year, I still think 62 is too much for Cam. They need a way to split his schedule so it’s like 55-27 or something close to that. Talbot’s a starting goalie, but he’s not a HOFer 70 game guy. I don’t get why this is so hard for this organization to see.

  • LAKID

    No. The Oiler’s can’t wait and hope Talbot has a back bounce season. Talbot has not had a full solid season since he has been aquired. The Oiler’s desperately need to get a bonifide #1 goalie in here so Talbot can push for the #1 spot. The only reason Talbot hasn’t lost the #1 position is because the Oiler’s don’t have any goalies in the system to be a #1 nevermind be in the NHL. Chia threw away another pick on Montoya and if Montoya is here next year that is bad management of asset management.Something has to give, the Oiler’s are not winning with a back up goalie in Talbot. Time to move on and get a #1 .

    • The Future Never Comes

      Wait so you want another #1 goalie alongside Cam’s 4.1 million cap hit, so say another 6 million dollar man to be tied up for over 10 million in goal. So, sell off more players like Nuge to get a goalie, when we already do not have enough actual goal scorers. So we can hope the other team can only score 1 or less goals every game on our two #1’s with this porous defence? Yeaaaa, i’m going to go with a hard no.

      • A-co

        I think they should carry 3 goalies with a cap hit north of $4 million…they could come out to the ice in a little car with a dancing bear behind it…may as well turn it into a complete joke just like the management team that runs the show…welcome to the circus known as the oilers… 6-5 vegas regulation Connor on the ice for all 11 goals..

  • Munson

    He’s been a starter for 3 years. 1 ok, 1 awesome, 1 pure stink.

    Yea he might rebound but if you don’t get a real backup because you’re hoping your mentally fragile goalie can stop himself from becoming The Net Detective 2.0….

  • CMG30

    I have no problem starting Talbot again next season but we MUST have a competent backup. Another slow start in net will be poison.

    This seasons regression does largely rest on Talbots shoulders, but that’s only because our brain dead GM failed to improve the team in the off season. Talbot and McDavid were the twin towers that took us to the playoffs last season. When Talbot faltered early in the season the rest of the team simply was not good enough to compensate. That’s on Chirelli and it should cost him his job.

    • LAKID

      Nonsense. To blame Sekera is nonsense he was comming off a serious injury and may have been rushed and he is out again with a knee injury. Klefbom was playing injured Again. The defense is what Chia supplied and did not improve in the off season with the cap space so okay. The fact that Talbot can’t stop the first shot on net and has has been pulled how many times? Garbage goaltending they should have just stuck with LB intead of giving up a 4th round pick. Chia should be replaced!

  • Messier11

    This guy just doesn’t get it. Talbot is one of the least introspective, self-critical goalies I have seen. Earlier this year, we had the epic quote “I don’t recall the last time I was beat by a straight shot.” For real? What, does every shot that beats you go in off of a deflection? Does every shot that beats you rebound off the side boards or the overhead display? Get real, FFS.

    Secondly, does he not appreciate that just about every team must have a scouting report on him that details his penchant to go down on his knees the moment the puck enters our half of the ice? How many times have we seen him on his knees BEFORE a puck is shot on net, only to find that it beats him glove high or shoulder high on his blocker side? SERIOUSLY? Who is the bush league goaltending coach we have? Why have we not poached Bill Ranford back from LA? You know, the goaltending coach who actually has a flipping Stanley Cup? The goaltending coach to a 2 time Stanley Cup winner?

    You know who Talbs reminds me of? Remember Dubnyk’s last year here? The last pre-season game we get destroyed by a Vancouver team that was basically AHLers. Dubs’ response: “Yeah, I am not worried.” WTF???? How can you not be worried? Did you have a Stanley Cup ring that we didn’t know about?

    And that is a microcosm of the Oiler’s problems. These guys (read: Talbot and some others) can’t be honest enough with themselves to actually accept that their gameplay and skills need work. Are they that perfect that they shouldn’t show more pride and put in the time? What about Sidney Crosby, staying out for an hour or more after practice to perfect his one timer? Do you think that any of the SOilers this year tried to perfect a one-timer where they don’t have to FIRST stop the puck and set it up all pretty like before taking a shot that by now is impeded by a defender’s stick or body?

    This team will never go anywhere until these guys actually become hungry enough to go beyond their comfort zones. Their is only one guy who seems to appreciate that, and #97 could get tired of this crap and pull a Pronger. Who knows? Would you, if you were so accustomed to success and a work ethic, put up with this crap?

    • lucky

      I feel you brah. I share your pain man. To WHH’s point please don’t “soil” your comment (to a troll’s level), because I agree wholeheartedly with the rest, and I want to hear what you have to say. Trolls are the lowest blog lifeform, to be pitied and ignored.

  • Odanada

    IMHO, I really think Talbot needs to alter his style. Right now he goes to his knees immediately and guys have figured out to just shoot above his shoulders. To be fair, they’ve figured out the same thing with Carey Price.
    If Talbot stayed on his feet a little longer, shooters would no longer have a default option (above the shoulder) and Talbot would gain an edge.
    It’s hard to change your style at Cam’s age, but if he doesn’t, the book on him will be remain open for all to see.

    • lucky

      Not sure where I heard it, but there’s a saying about making $3000 saves – for the goalie to use 100% of his equipment to make every save, not just one pad, or one glove, or one blocker. When Talbot goes down in anticipation before the shot, he loses his mobility, his ability to drive his mass towards the shot. So he has to extend a saving surface towards the shot (glove, blocker, pad), but at the same time the rest of his body is moving further away, opening up a larger potential target for the shooter. If he doesn’t get the puck clean with his primary saving surface, there’s little opportunity for a secondary surface to come into play. It’s basic physics. He has been moving better over the past while, but I’m not sure what’s the disconnect. Dustin Schwartz pioneered and teaches a technique called head trajectory, where the movements of tracking the puck and moving the body into the best position is combined into a singular efficient movement. I’m not sure what’s the disconnect, but my eye saw Talbot tracking and moving so much better than this year, this year he has so often looked slow and stapled to the ice. There’s something going on there, maybe it’s the symptomatic of the whole Oilers coaching/management shop (all the shadow coaching cabinets and peculiar roles). All I can say is I have played in front of goaltenders that get into the heads of the opposition and break their confidence, cause them to doubt if they are able to score. I doubt there’s a more important factor in winning than clutch goaltending. When you are getting it, all the breaks roll your way. When you’re not getting it, there’s nothing you can do. The Oilers have not been getting it. If they are to challenge for a championship, they need to find it.

  • Hemmercules

    Contract year coming up. I would bet he plays much better next season. Still, they need to ship out Monty and find a guy to push him a little more. I have a feeling next season is going to be pretty much the same team with Chia gambling that most of them can bounce back.

  • TKB2677

    I have said it in this site and on other Oilers related sites.
    Yes the coaching hasn’t been good enough especially the special teams. Yes the GM made some mistakes.
    Yes the roster wasn’t perfect.
    BUT
    Go down the list of teams making the playoffs year after year and the huge majority of them have really good to excellent starting goaltending. There will always be the outlier team that maybe does it platoon style or are so stacked they can overcome bad goaltending but that is rare. Take the Jets. The Jets missed the playoffs and had 87 pts. This year they have 110 pts. Their roster from last year to this year is almost entirely the same so what is the difference?

    Hellebuyck was .907 last year and .922 this year. If Hellebuyck was close to .907, they wouldn’t be where they are. Talbot has a career .918 save percentage, he was .919 last year in his tremendous year. He is .907 this year. If Talbot can get closer to his career average, the Oilers will make the playoffs.

  • Glencontrolurstik

    Before reading all the comments. I know this is in here. But my take is Cam needs a back-up the same or better than him to push each other.
    Don’t worry Cam, this is a healthy scene for everyone. You’ll be in a much better place. And be much more valuable to the team than you are now…

    • TKB2677

      What team has that though? Any team with an actual “starter” there is a drop off to the back up. There is a reason that guy is the back up. I agree that going into this season, Brossoit clearly wasn’t a capable back up. I don’t know if Montoya is the answer either. So for next season, they need to take a long look at who’s behind Talbot but I don’t know if there is a guy out there that would equal Talbot.

  • Randaman

    He was good this year??? Huh? Tmac blowing sunshine up his ___ won’t make a difference here. By the way, the two years before he got here were as a back up which is what he is.

  • The Future Never Comes

    Well thanks captain obvious, what else would he say? “Yeah, I think i’m going to continue with the downward spiral, get scored on first shot of the game for more than 15% of my starts again, and all around just not be not dependable back there at all next year and going forward.”

  • RJ

    There is a link between save% and the quality of defencemen.

    If you want to look historically, Dubnyk on the Oilers had a historically bad save%. He had the league-worst defence in front of him. When he ended up with the Wild after, he got to play behind elite defenders (like Sutter). Suddenly he was a Vezina candidate. He didn’t get that much better, but his Oilers defence allowed a ton of high danger scoring chances while the Wild were very good at limiting those chances.

    Apply this to Talbot. His .941 save% was on the Rangers team that lost 3 OT games to lose 4-1 in the Cup finals. They were very good. This year he played behind the weakest Oiler blueline in years. Everyone but Nurse took a step back and it showed.

    Talbot is an average NHL goalie who gets good stats behind a great defence and terrible stats behind a terrible blueline.

  • KennyG

    There needs to be one move. Tmac Talbot or PC. Pick one. Who do you have the most faith in?? Sadly I’d say Talbot deserves another chance before the other two. Talbot was not good this year. Tmac was worse PC…… well he’s just PC