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Photo Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

WWYDW: The Goalies (short- and long-term)

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.

Pierre LeBrun discussed the Oilers and Cam Talbot in an article about impending UFA goalies… 

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?

  • Kneedroptalbot

    Play both Talbot and Koskinen, who ever is playing better starts.
    I sure sounds simple to me. If one plays well enough to earn a contract for next season, sign it at the trade deadline.

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    If the Oilers want their goalies to succeed they need to fire Dustin Schwartz. Making Schultz the Oilers goalie coach after they fired Chabot was a ridiculous move, much like we have seen from the Top brass.

    Schultz had a great career at the U of A , he never played in the NHL. Schwartz was the Oil Kings goalie coach and Lowe and company after firing Chabot made Schwartz the Oiler goalies coach. No Nhl experience and you worked with the kids in the WHL, whoa your hired! Like WTF???

    The boook on Talbot is he goes down too early and stays there too long, and teams know to shoot high on Talbot, last year there were so mnay goals that went in high on Talbot because he was down and staying there far too often and we are seeing it this year again, look at the Hawks game, how many times did you see the Hawks try and go high on Talbot. Last night there were goals that went in high on Talbot.

    Schwartz has done nothing to work on that with Talbot, zip, nada, zilch. Golaie coaches are supposed to help their goalies in the system adapt their game when pucks are going by them regularly, and help them shore up those weak points in their game, Schwartz has done nothing of the sort. Schwartz does not have the experience to be a goalie coach in the NHL send him back to coach the Oil Kings goalies because he doesnt have the foresight to get his goalies to adapt their game. Teams will expolit a goalies weakness and Talbots is going down to early.

    When the Oilers declined to sign Brossoit he landed with the Jets and Brossoit had won the first two games he played, I was watching the telecast of the game and one of the commentators remarked how the Jets goalie coach had watched some of Brossoit’s Oilers games and thought he had potential but had developed some bad habits, so the Jets goalie coached worked with Brossoit on not going down so early and staying on his feet more and they commentators were remarking how the Jets goalie coach and the Head coach were impressed by Brossoit willingness to work on the changes to his game and how the changes have helped him play a lot better and see the puck better and it was paying off in wins.

    If that doesnt speak volumes to why the Oilers need and NHL coach with NHL experiences who is able to help the goalies shore up the weak points in there game I dont know what does.

    The Oilers need Schwartz relieved of his duties, and to hire a proven goalie coach, I am sure Schwartz is a nice guy but his lack of experience in the NHL and not being able to see weak points in the goalies games is just going to cost us as it did last year. A goalie coach should be able to spot the weak points, address them with the goalie and work with the goalie to eliminate them from their play, that is what good goalie coaches do and Schwartz doesnt see it and doesnt recongnize it, Schwartz needs to go

  • 0W-20

    Play Talbot less and Koskinen more. We already know Talbot is good but prone to the semi-regular stinker and needs more rest than he gets. At least need to find out if the backup can be more than a once-a-month option.

    • OilerForLife

      I think we have to see what we got there – he looked awful good in the one game he played. Worth every bit the 2.5M he was paid, but too much of a small sample size, and the team played very well in front of him. Maybe Detroit and I say that with a certain amount of trepidation. If he wins then we may have something there.

  • Thumby

    I seem to think that the evidence is pointing to home life affecting Talbot. It’s an adjusting period when you start a family. He’s better on the road (as is our Penalty kill)…maybe run Koskinen at home more and Talbot on the road more…??

  • D

    The organization needs to decide if it believes the Oilers can win the Stanley Cup with Cam Talbot. I don’t believe the Oilers can win it all with him, but I’m no expert. If the ultimate decision is no Stanley Cup with Talbot, then finding a goalie who can backstop the team all the way to the end must be a top priority.

  • jaksqwat

    Koskinen should be playing 50/50 with Talbot. Talbot is a mediocre goalie. Koskinen is young, learning and 6’7 to boot. Oilers will not win a ham sandwich with Talbot’s inconsistency and and the team would do well to put Koskinen out there, play. If either do poorly, the goalie market will be better next summer. They should throw the goalie coach away. Disaster.

    • OriginalPouzar

      Koskinen is one year younger than Talbot – neither are young (although I have zero worries about goalies’ performance dropping in their early 30s – some goalies actually perform better in their early 30s).

    • OldOilFan

      Goalie rotation/coin toss:
      maybe a rigid 50/50 split would be too drastic, but there should be more of a “keep them guessing” policy. Play whoever seems to be hot and/or who seems to “want it [more than the other guy].”
      Talbot came in and performed really well two seasons ago, but that’s not enough basis to make him the “de facto” starter now. If I was coach/GM, then I’d be down to making a coin toss to choose between Cam and Kosk until I’ve seen more…but I would make the coin toss, rather than not.

  • Heschultzhescores

    If Talbot could take that shot over the shoulder away, he’d be pretty solid. I would play both goaltenders. Who ever is hot keeps playing. Interesting Talbot had his best game after Kosk started

  • I’d hope Koskinen gets the next 2/3 starts. It would give him an opportunity to gain some footing from Talbot, inspired goaltending would only be a good thing for us. I know Koskinen is still abit unproven but McLellan needs to see both of them on the same ground right now otherwise this wouldn’t be very competitive.

  • camdog

    Over the the last 2 seasons, plus the start of this season Talbot has played 8 games more than any other goalie and 15 more than the next, even with an injury last season. That’s too much hockey.

  • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

    Glad to say I wasn’t disappointed with the comments section. Amazing how people forget that Talbot set an Oilers record 2 seasons ago, or that he’s been the busiet goalie in the league since coming here. For the record, Talbot’s play 200+ games. But sure, just pile on the guy until you run him out of town the cry crocodile tears when he succeeds elsewhere. Just like Dubnyk and Brossoit.

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      I dont think anyone wants to run Talbot out of town ( okay there may be some here at ON ) Does Talbot go down too early and stay there too long yes he does, but when you see a lot of rubber going by him so mnay times, Schwartz should have said to Talbot a lot of high shots aregetting by you because your down too early too long, and showed him some exmaples and said lets work on that… hasn’t happened,,, not last year and not this year so far. That is a failure of the coaching staff for not addressing it and not working to help fix it, Talbot doesnt know where some of the screamers get by him go in, but when there is more than a few in the same areas that is something for the goalie coach to make him aware of so they can start to work and solve the issue, it is Scwartz failure, he has done nothing to cure that weakness in Talbot’s game.

      Chrsit Benning has been a tire fire the past couple years and this year and have they cured or worked with Benning on his issues, judging by the tire fire he is I would say no, but again this is a coaching issue, they should have sat benning last year and showed him some film of him in our end and said we need to work on the things yo are doing wrong and fix them and have you sit out a few games and see what the other guys are doing and the opposing teams D. Looks like it never happened just a ” atta boy” and back out on to the ice. It is a coaching failure or benning just doesnt get what is wrong with his game or just cant fix it.

      So this all on Talbot he played great the last handful of games, but that going down issue is still plaguing him and it is Schwartz issue for not adressing it or trying to fix it, so no not all Talbot’s issue

  • A-co

    Next goalie they sign should be signed to a 3 year contract max…by then one of the goalies being developed should be nhl ready…I wouldn’t rush to sign talbot to a new deal…see how the year plays out with him and $2.5 backup and make a decision at years end…Can Connor play goalie too? Having him on the ice for 60 minutes would help this team

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      I dont think the Oilers and Talbot’s agent have had nay talsk about signing a new deal, The Oilers approach is they are going to wait and see how things go this season and go from there with whether they do or dont do a deal with Talbot