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Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

Monday Mailbag – Digging into the Cam Talbot trade rumours

What have we here? A brand new mailbag for a brand new week! I hope all of you had an excellent practice retirement and that the overall punishment on your livers was kept in check. With everyone back at work for another week, I wanted to put together something to read and help you kill off a few minutes of company time and ease yourselves into this Monday. As always, I’ve sent your wonderings out to the writers and waited for all of their worldly wisdom to come back to me. I still need questions for next week, so if there is something Oilers related (or not) that you want to ask, feel free to hit me up by email or on Twitter. Enjoy.

Dec 29, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers defensemen Oscar Klefbom (77) skates against the Chicago Blackhawks at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

1) Chris in Chicago asks – Lately I’ve been thinking about just how well the Dustin Penner-for-Teubert/Klefbom/(3rd rounder that became Zharkov) trade from 2011 has worked out for the Oil.

I don’t get the sense Tambellini gets much credit from the average fan for getting us a future 1st pairing guy for a declining asset, understandably because of his overall track record as GM. My question is: what other trades over the years do you feel may have slipped under the radar as being really astute “steals”?

Robin Brownlee:

Glen Sather insisting on getting the rights to Mike Grier as part of the Curtis Joseph trade with St. Louis for draft picks in 1995 was a terrific trade where the “throw in” turned out way better than anybody thought it would. Grier played 448 games with the Oilers.

Jason Gregor:

Chris Pronger for Eric Brewer, Doug Lynch and Jeff Woywitka and then during the season Jaro Spacek for Tony Salmalainen. Those two trades were main reasons Oilers went to Cup Finals in 2006.

Matt Henderson:

There are a few steals I can think of but my mind always gets drawn to the ones we lost because I’m a staunch kill-joy. Let’s give Chia some credit for his best overall move, Pat Maroon with salary retained for bits of belly lint and ticket stubs from Avatar opening night. That was a steal. I also really liked Matt Green and Jarret Stoll for Lubo. It worked out for the Kings but I’d trade a 5D and a 3C for a top pairing offensive blue liner every day of the week.

Cam Lewis:

It’s wild how the Oilers turned Jason Bonsignore and Steve Kelly, two of the worst draft picks in franchise history, into Roman Hamrlik. In recent memory, though? Kevin Lowe’s deals before the cup run in 2006 were amazing. Obviously the Pronger one stands out most along with the Roloson acquisition, but getting Jaro Spacek, Sergei Samsonov, and Dick Tarnstrom without giving up much was amazing.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

That Klefbom deal was fantastic, but some credit has to go to the scouting department as well. The Oilers haven’t had a lot of picks outside the top ten pan out, but Klefbom is an exception to that. I know he’s playing bad right now, but the Talbot deal was a really good move by Chiarelli.  Apart from that, it’s hard to find deals that are clear “steals”. Lame answer, but I just can’t find a deal.

Christian Pagnani:

I think it’s the first-round pick that’s important and then Tambellini nailed the pick too. If we’re talking Oilers trades, I always liked the David Perron trades by Craig MacTavish. He got a good scoring winger and then flipped him for a first in a deep draft. They used that first and added a key part of their team. Yupp. That’s how it went. End of story. Outside Edmonton, the Francois Beauchemin trade for Joffrey Lupul and Jake Gardiner was pretty sweet. Gardiner’s been a top-four guy in Toronto and Lupul had a resurgence there too before ended up on Robidas Island.

Baggedmilk:

Sometimes I wish Peter Chiarelli had a little bit of Steve Tambellini in him, ya know? What I mean is that Tambo never did anything and if ‘Sell Low’ Chiarelli had that mentality then we’d probably have a lot more capable players in the lineup.

2) James asks – Is anyone else concerned that the two trades Chiarelli has made in the past month aren’t even playing regular shifts with the team right now? Spooner is getting 4th line minutes and Wideman has been a healthy scratch twice this week.

Robin Brownlee:

No. These are relatively minor trades and you can’t judge how they’ll turn out in a few weeks. Spooner got the winner against Vegas Saturday. Is that now a good trade? Resist the urge to rush to judgment.

Jason Gregor:

The Wideman trade is fine. Get a RD for a 6th round pick. The Spooner/Strome deal looked like Oilers felt Strome couldn’t score, but it is funny how he is playing RW in NYR and producing a bit. I thought he was playing well here, he just wasn’t scoring. Spooner was a risk. He has produced better offensively, but he needs to help out on 2nd PP and produce against easy comp to help the Oilers.

Matt Henderson:

I think Wideman is there if Hitch feels like he can’t salvage Benning. He’s ready to give 3rd pairing minutes filling basically the playing style. Spooner just finally did something positive the last game but that was a bad trade from the second it was made. It took me 30 seconds of digging to see the very real problems with Spooners outcomes. Chiarelli is banking on blind luck to bail him out. It’s concerning that he still has a job at all. It means there are people even stupider than him who hold even higher positions of power.

Cam Lewis:

The spooner deal was an odd one given the fact Strome actually had a niche on the team as a decent defensive centre. That said, Spooner deserves some time to figure things out here. He scored at a pretty impressive clip in 2017-18 and isn’t just a hack of a player.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I’m not ready to label the Spooner deal a loss just yet. He could be taking some time to adjust to playing with a new team, so I’ll cut him some slack for a slow start to his Oilers career. The Wideman deal was a low-cost acquisition, but it is weird how he hasn’t found a way to draw into the lineup yet. At the end of the day, the Oilers didn’t give up very much in these deals, so I’m not worried about it at all. The time to judge will be at the end of the season.

Christian Pagnani:

The Chris Wideman trade was basically for nothing. I wouldn’t worry about him. Spooner? Yeah, he doesn’t seem like a Hitchcock player. Strome was struggling, but he was a decent bottom-six forward. There’s still time for Spooner to turn it around, but so far it looks like another bad contract Chiarelli’s added.

Baggedmilk:

This question honestly made me laugh a little bit. Yes, there’s some concern that one of Chiarelli’s latest acquisition is getting 4th line minutes when it’s clear that is not what was expected. But to be fair, Spooner got the game winner on Saturday night and maybe that will kick off his offence here. In his post-game interview, he admitted the lack of production had been weighing on him a little bit. Positive thinking, people!

Apr 2, 2018; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Edmonton Oilers goalie Cam Talbot (33) makes a save as Minnesota Wild forward Nino Niederreiter (22) looks for a rebound during the third period at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

3) Kyle G. asks – I’m confused about the reports that the Oilers have Cam Talbot on the trade block right now. Why would they think that such a small sample size with Koskinen is good enough to make that decision?

Robin Brownlee:

They don’t. Speculation is speculation. Koskinen is on a really good roll. No need to do anything right now but sit back and take a longer look at how he performs.

Jason Gregor:

I don’t see him being on the block today. Rumours are often just that. Would they trade him for a cheaper backup, possibly, but right now he is a $4.1m backup. His last 82 games he has a .906sv%. Not good enough, and that is a big enough sample size to wonder if he can find his game again.

Matt Henderson:

Chiarelli is GMing for his life. If he thinks his bosses want a goalie trade, he’ll do it. He doesn’t have the luxury of large sample sizes evening themselves out. He’s plum out of slack. Every loss could be his last as a GM in the NHL.

Cam Lewis:

What has Peter Chiarelli done in the past three-and-a-half years that makes you think he’s going to make a good decision? Selling low on Talbot would be right up his alley.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I’m also confused. Goalies get on hot streaks and while I’m not trying to take anything away from Mikko Koskinen, I think the Oilers need to be 100% sure that he can be a starter before they move Talbot out, unless they’re getting another experienced NHL goalie in return. I’ve been a Talbot supporter for the past two seasons, so I’m not ready to give up on him either. There’s a part of me that still believes if this team wants to win a playoff round, they need Talbot between the pipes to do it, but Koskinen is slowly starting to change my mind.

Christian Pagnani:

I don’t think you re-sign Cam Talbot anyways. He’s dropped off the last season and hasn’t shown signs of recovering to previous levels yet. They need someone better and it’s too early to tell if that’s Mikko Koskinen, but Talbot’s struggles means they should be looking for a new starter for 2019-2020 anyways.

Baggedmilk:

What is wrong with having two goalies that can play? Is Dadbot doing his job right now, no? Does that mean he won’t be able to regain his form again? Also no. Let Koskinen and Talbot battle for playing time, the competition is healthy. Not to mention, do you really want Chiarelli selling low again? I’d much rather see if Talbot can inflate those totals a bit first.

Oct 13, 2018; New York, NY, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) is congratulated after scoring a goal against the New York Rangers during the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

4) Blakes asks – What do you guys think about Ken Hitchcock saying that he may occasionally rest Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on practice days because of the heavy minutes he’s playing for the team?

Robin Brownlee:

Hitchcock won’t limit that approach to RNH. He monitors everybody’s playing time and rather than deem practices “optional,” he designates who will practice and who won’t based on what he sees. Ken has always been ahead of the curve in ensuring players get enough breaks from the grind.

Jason Gregor:

No problem. RNH isn’t a big guy. He will wear down if they don’t give him extra rest. I agree with his thinking. It looks wise to me.

Matt Henderson:

I think it’s cool to see an old-school coach showing a lot of forward thinking. In the NBA, star players won’t play every game of the season, even if healthy. We’re talking about practice. Practice? Practice! Not the game.

Cam Lewis:

It’s certainly necessary given the lack of depth the team has. McDavid, RNH, and Draisaitl are going to be leaned on heavily to play a lot this year, so taking a day off to rest is a great idea.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I like it. Hitch has shown he isn’t afraid to really run this teams stars and if they need an extra day of rest between games it’s understandable. I don’t really think there is a downside to having RNH sit out the odd practice and if for some reason his game starts to suffer because of it, I’m confident Hitchcock would find a way to correct it.

Christian Pagnani:

Practice is overrated. I’m fine with it.

Baggedmilk:

It just warms my heart to see Hitchcock say nice things about Nuge. He can talk to me about him all day.

5) Ryan C. asks – Who are some other hockey writers you respect? Who else should I be reading?

Robin Brownlee:

I respect all of them. It’s a great gig, but a tough one. I lean away from the guys who use the “hot take” approach to make waves. I know why it happens because it’s very competitive, but I prefer the guys who are proven over the long haul — 20 years or more — to be reliable and fair. Iain MacIntyre at Sportsnet, Mike Russo, Aaron Portzline, Mark Spector, Jim Matheson, Michael Farber and Kevin Paul Dupont are top of the heap for me.

Jason Gregor:

I respect anyone who puts in the time to add something insightful to the conversation. I like to read people I don’t always agree with, because it makes me think differently, and as long as they can present solid analysis I enjoy it. If you only read writers you agree with then you become too close-minded, which happens far too often in politics. Read columnists, reporters or bloggers. But always read the NATION.

Matt Henderson:

Half the people I really respect got scooped up by the Athletic and the other half are barely writing anymore. I’ve always admired Willis and Blackdog Pat. I like Dellow and Woodguy. Sunil is one of the smartest and even-minded people I’ve ever met. Down Goes Brown is hilarious. Those are good writers. The way Pat puts together his thoughts is pretty special, actually. It’s a real treat.

Cam Lewis:

There’s a lot of good people out there, not just writers but follows on Twitter, who think and speak about the game and league in insightful and interesting ways. It’s really worthwhile to follow fans of other teams to get these different perspectives.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

Around Edmonton, I’m obviously a big fan of everyone around The Nation. I also have a soft spot for Lowetide, for obvious reasons. Outside of Edmonton, I like a guy like Down Goes Brown who mixes in some humour with his writing. I don’t think there’s enough of that around the hockey media world, sometimes it’s nice to read something that makes you chuckle and isn’t so serious.

Christian Pagnani:

I like Tyler Dellow and Dom Luszczyszyn.

Baggedmilk:

Read them all! Get a range of takes in, form your opinion, and yell at everyone on Twitter.

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  • OriginalPouzar

    Cam mentions the Sergei Samsonov deadline rental acquisition and, no doubt that was a great trade that was material in the run to game 7 of the SCF.

    BIt of trivia – who did the Bruins pick with the draft pick the Oilers game up to get Samsonov? Answer: Milan Lucic.

    The Oilers then spend the next decade trying to draft the “next Milan Lucic”.

  • camdog

    Talbot trade rumours were click bait by TSN. Strome, like Aberg were players the coach didn’t like, players that are productive with a different coach. If the coach isn’t going to put them in a place to succede, no point in keeping them around. The players all knew it, that’s why they didn’t respond to the trade as had hoped and PC was forced into replacing the coach. Spooner will find a place on roster, but it won’t be on RNH’s wing like Todd had hoped. Strome would have been a better fit there, but Todd didn’t like his skating.

  • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    I do wonder how many trades are coach-driven (Aberg and Strome for example) and how many are GM-driven? More to the point, given the heat that Chia’s taking now (and has been for a while), will people alter their view of Chia if Hitch is able to stay close to his 4-1-1 pts% for the rest of the season?
    That is, if a Hitch-coached Oilers team that’s largely unchanged from Todd’s team can finish top three in the division and go two or more rounds, does Chia get any credit? In my view his really big mistake is not hiring Hitch at the end of last season.

    • Jay (not J)

      Yeah. Why couldn’t McLellan put Looch on the 3rd line? I had a lot of respect for Todd after his SJ tour, but looking back on his tenure here, he sure seemed to have a number of sacred cows and some of them could have been holding the Oilers back. Small sample size, but if this team makes the playoffs that should cool the Chiarelli chatter some. When the Bakersfield gang starts claiming jobs on the NHL roster, PC might even start looking good… if he makes it through this year, that is.

  • ed from edmonton

    The Talbot on the trading block is based on one writer’s speculation. Unless there is a trade too good to turn down, I don,t think there will be a trade is likely. However if the status quo stays the same, every day the chances of a trade get a little more likely.

  • Glencontrolurstik

    Trade wise, Zykov may turn into something?
    It was a few years ago but when they were rookies in the CHL (Zykov the Q), He edged out a 15 year old McDavid for rookie of the year.. I hear he is great at setting-up & finishing plays. Could be a great mid-season find? We’ll see?

    • fasteddy

      If there’s one thing I’ve learned from following hockey it’s that typically teams don’t waive players that have any hope of being contributors. Certainly it can happen, but way more often than not there’s very good reasons players end up on waivers.

      • Glencontrolurstik

        Let’s hope it happened this time? Or we can fix it, if anything is wrong. I am always wondering why we didn’t pick up McIlleney when the Leafs snatched him up on waivers.

    • Bills Bills

      Zykov was a 17 year old rookie that season. So overage for the CHL. Not taking anything away from it but at that age one or two years makes a huge difference.

  • Spydyr

    Just for the record Talbot is 58th in save % at .889. You have go to the second page of NHL goalie stats to find him.

    Imagine the Oilers without Koskinen this season. Who happens to be at 11th in save % in the NHL at .928

    I’m not a Chia fan but picking up Koskinen has saved this season.

    I have been saying since the moment Talbot arrived they need a goalie to push him. Thank your lucky stars they finally have that this season.

    • Ohlyr

      The Talbot, bounce back experiment has lasted 2 seasons, 43rd in SV% last season and 58th this year.
      Time to move forward, if he can be traded for picks great. Otherwise I would put him on waivers. The 4.2M cap space is very valuable, last thing we want to do is take a big contract back.

      • Glencontrolurstik

        Could be “the Dubnyk Effect”… think it through? Maybe try a different goalie coach first…?
        “The Dubnyk Effect” it’s a real thing, when we are talking about the Edmonton Oilers, really…

  • hagar

    Why does it have to be about if Kosk is going to continue his hot streak or not as the deciding factor if Talbot stays or goes?
    Kosk if showing how important it is to have a solid goalie for the majority of games to be successful, as much, or more, than he is his own abilities.
    Why is Talbots future tied in with kosks ability to maintain his current performance level? What? Is Talbot some important reserve piece to have arround just incase? He is not a good goalie to base a team around, you need a consistant starter,Talbot has shown his inability to be a consistant starter for like two years now.

      • hagar

        Yeah, i dont even think Kosk is putting on some mirracle performance that will be hard to maintain. It sure looks like he is when you compare his consistancy to Talbots, but he is playing how most good goalies play, decent all the time.
        It just feels like its way bigger of a performance when you are used to 33 percent of first shots going in, and never know if the most basic of shots will be stopped or not.

        • Spydyr

          Koskinen has been calm and rock solid between the pipes. I feel he gives the team a sense of calmness in that he will make the big save when it matters.

          It is early but wouldn’t it be nice if Koskinen became the Oilers Tim Thomas?

          • Glencontrolurstik

            Thomas really only had one good run… He reminds me more of Kipper another Finn.
            And wouldn’t it be just fantastic to shove that in the face of those Flames, that we got the second coming of Kipper & he pans out for a few years & cup runs.

          • Beer_League_Ringer

            @Spydyr
            Agreed. I think a lot can be said about a goalie’s worth based on how his team plays in front of him. Also, I love the fact that Mikko is currently getting some posts and other puck luck. Good to be lucky, lucky to be good-type thing.

        • Rufio Barcoli

          Talbot probably spent a lot of time reading articles by “insiders” and “experts” so he knew where he stood.
          Talbot believed that no matter how bad he was to play, the fault would never be directed at him.
          That’s why he showed no fire or care.
          Talbot played with an intensity of a wet fart, and would rarely bail his team out.
          As soon as one of his defense men would get burnt Talbot would let in a goal and not care.
          Most nights it would appear, by his play and attitude, that Talbot was playing for himself and not the team.

      • Ohlyr

        Here is the comparison between our 2 goalies.
        Koskinen: 2.16 (4th in NHL) 0.928 (11th) 0.800 (3rd in NHL)
        Talbot: #33 3.29 (40th in NHL) 0.889 (58th) 0.357 (48th in NHL)

  • Rufio Barcoli

    Pathetic.
    I can’t wait when this roster is in the play-offs.
    I will be on here to remind all the “insiders” and “experts” of their Chia hate.
    So sad.
    I swear some of these betas go to bed wishing Oilers fail so they can be right and continue their Chia hate.
    You would think these guys were/are GMs in the league with how much they think they know.
    Fortunately, they ain’t fooling anybody but their emotions.
    Pathetic.

    • Hemmercules

      Chia set the team back, anyone with half a brain can see that including the vast majority of writers who write anything about the Oilers. With the assets they had they should be a contender by now, not fighting for their lives to just make the playoffs.

      Lately he has been throwing junk at the wall to see if it sticks (Hitchcock, Spooner, Wideman, waiver pickup). Who doesn’t like Hitch so far? Spooner for Strome was useless. Wideman and that other waiver pickup were just moves to make moves. Can’t be stagnant while your job is on the line I guess.

      After seeing what Chia has done so far its a little scary to wonder what he will do this summer if Hitchcock saves his job for him and gets the Oilers to the playoffs. Chia has won exactly one deal he has made as GM of he Oilers. One. Maybe two if you count getting Talbot for couple picks but it looks like Talbot is probably done here and I heard that deal was basically Sather handing him over because he still likes the Oilers. Whats makes you think Chia won’t continue to be a loser in all his dealings??

    • ed from edmonton

      I agree that there is a lot of people who are fully invested in trashing PC and will be will be quite disappointed if he and the Oil find any level of success. We don’t hear much from these people about how Taylor Hall is leading his team to last place at the moment.

  • chezzychez

    The Doug Weight for Esa Tikkanen trade worked out well for us in the 90’s. And I was pretty stoked we got Smytty back to finish his career in Edmonton for Colin Fraser and a 7th.

  • GK1980

    Trading Strome was a head scratcher. He wasn’t scoring but he is a serviceable NHL player. Spooner even with his goal is not near as well rounded as Strome. Trading Cam at this point is ludicrous, which means Chia will probably do it. Keep running both goalies and if Talbot can’t find his game all year then at the end of the year drop him. He is still a good goalie, just has to find his groove.

    • Hemmercules

      Talbot hasn’t been good for over a year. Better towards the end of last season but with zero pressure due to being eliminated from the playoffs before Christmas. How long do you wait?? Losing games isn’t an option right now so his starts will be very limited I’m guessing. I would hold onto him until the deadline at the very longest. If they are out of the playoffs or Talbot has shown no improvement by then they need to get anything they can for him.

      • Hemmercules

        Or of course if Chia finds a deal he cant pass up from some desperate team needing goaltending and wanting to take a chance on a declining goalie. Obviously the likelihood of Chia coming out on top on a Talbot trade mid season is extremely low.