Over the past couple weeks, I’ve looked at Edmonton’s forwards and defencemen and how best they can be deployed. This week, we’ll finish off by looking at Edmonton’s interesting three-headed goalie situation and the best way it can be managed.
Backup goalies have been a struggle for the Oilers in the past couple seasons. Cam Talbot played a whopping 73 games for the team in 2016-17 because Jonas Gustavsson couldn’t play adequately as the backup and the coaching staff didn’t trust Laurent Brossoit. It seems that amount of play caught up to Talbot as he struggled in the following season. Brossoit also struggled in relief of Talbot resulting in Peter Chiarelli acquiring Al Montoya from the Canadiens midway through the season.
This year, Edmonton is rolling into the season with three goalies…
- Cam Talbot was a key player in Edmonton’s playoff run in 2016-17 but he had a difficult season last year. Still, he figured to be Edmonton’s starting goalie this season. He’s is signed for one more year at $4,166,667.
- In the off-season, Chiarelli inked Mikko Koskinen to a one-year deal worth $2.5 million. Koskinen has been very good in the KHL in recent years, but he has only four games of NHL experience.
- Al Montoya is still in the mix with one year left on his contract. He has a $1,062,500 cap hit and virtually all of that can be buried in the minors if he clears waivers.
That brings us to this week’s What Would You Do Wednesday question. How do you handle the goalies this season? How much of a leash does Talbot have? Hell, how long of a leash does Koskinen have?
Talbot has led the league in games for goalies in back-to-back seasons now. He played an obscene amount of games in 2016-17 and was relied upon heavily again in 2017-18. Chiarelli brought in Koskinen, it seems, to spell Talbot as a 1B goalie given his struggles last season. You have to assume given Koskinen’s pricey $2.5 million cap hit that the team intends on giving him a role larger than the one you see for your standard backup goalie.
One issue with this, though, is the fact Koskinen has a whopping four games of NHL experience. As I said, he was excellent in the KHL and he had a great showing for Finland at the Olympics, but he really isn’t a guarantee at the NHL level. To increase skepticism, Koskinen has struggled in the pre-season, allowing eight goals over his first two appearances. Of course, there’s also a learning curve for Koskinen adjusting to the NHL ice surface and game so we certainly can’t just write him off immediately. The reality is that Koskinen may struggle early on in the season before figuring things out in the NHL.
So, what say you, Nation? How do you see the goaltending shaking out this season? Do you have faith in Koskinen splitting the net with Talbot? Are you worried about Koskinen based on his pre-season showing? How long of a leash would you give him before bringing up Montoya as the backup?
If you’ve ever been to one of our season opener parties before, you already know that one of the best parts is getting 200 Nation citizens together to meet up and start off the new season on a high note. Not only are these parties a great way to get the band together, it’s especially fun to meet new people that you’ve been
arguing with talking to online for Gord knows how long.
WHAT YOU GET:
The bag: Exclusive Season Opener Party tee, Pint GC, Oodle Noodle GC, stickers, and a ticket to enter all of the draws and raffles
The giveaways: Memorabilia giveaways, NationGear giveaways,
Anything else: We’ll also be having a NationGear pop-up shop that features some of the new shirts and hoodies that we’ve got for the upcoming season.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Where: The Pint Downtown
When: October 6th, with doors opening at 10 am and the hockey game starting at 11 am
Who: Every single one of you… that is of legal drinking age
Why: To celebrate the launch of a new season, get together, and to raise as much money as possible for our friends at KidSport
How much: Tickets are $25 each with net proceeds going directly to KidSport
How: Tickets are available here.