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