Through 11 games, we’ve seen two versions of Cam Talbot and Mikko Koskinen just once. The Oilers have rolled with Cm Talbot in 10 of 11 games thus far and he’s put up a handful of good starts and some bad ones too while Koskinen has only been given one chance to play.
Last night against the Wild, Talbot didn’t have a great game. To be fair to him, he allowed four goals, three of them with Minnesota on the power play and one at even strength. The game-winning goal scored by Mikael Granlund was from an absurd angle and really should have been stopped.
The theme with Talbot this year has been on again, off again. Sometimes he’s good, sometimes he isn’t. He was mediocre against New Jersey and Boston to start the year, great against the Rangers, bad against Winnipeg and Pittsburgh, and great against Washington and Chicago. Despite his somewhat erratic play, the Oilers have only been comfortable enough to give Koskinen one start. It was a tough assignment facing the 2017-18 President’s Trophy champions from Nashville, but the big Finn fared admirably.
That brings us to this week’s What Would You Do Wednesday question. Should the Oilers handle their goalies in a different way? Should Mikko Koskinen get more opportunities? Or are the Oilers doing the right thing using their more battle-tested starter in the difficult-but-critical early part of the schedule?
Also, beyond that, another thing we should start to talk about is the long-term goalie picture. Both Talbot and Koskinen are set to become unrestricted free agents this summer, joining a loaded goalie market including Semyon Varlamov, Pekka Rinne, Sergei Bobrovsky, Jimmy Howard, and Mike Smith.
The Edmonton Oilers are also taking the wait-and-see approach with Talbot, 31, and there hasn’t really been any contract talks. I think the idea here was to let the season begin and see how things went overall as a team before eventually deciding how to proceed with Talbot. Again, no hurry here and I think Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli is approaching this the right way. Talbot, like the rest of his team, struggled last season after being terrific the year before. Which version of Talbot do the Oilers get this season?
There’s definitely merit to that. One thing I considered last year after Talbot’s rough season was that he would be extended at a lower cost than he might end up charging if he has another Vezina-calibre season this year. Perhaps if the Oilers believe in Talbot and invest in him early despite some erratic play, they could save some money on his contract. That said, as LeBrun pointed out, Talbot might not be the guy they want long-term anymore given how he’s looked the past calendar year. It’s hard to say.
What say you, Nation? How should the Oilers handle their goalies this season? Has it been fine? Should Koskinen play more? What about long-term? Do you still believe Talbot is the guy?