The Cam Talbot trade, seven years later
Photo credit:Perry Nelson/USA TODAY Sports
By Zach Laing2 months ago
It’s hard to believe it’s been seven years since the Edmonton Oilers pulled off one of their most important trades in the last two decades.
Coming off a 2014-15 season that saw the Oilers post a measly 23-44-14 record that led the them landing the first overall pick and the services of Connor McDavid, Edmonton needed a goalie.
They ran Ben Scrivens and Viktor Fasth into the ground that season. Scrivens played 57 games, Fasth got 26, and both posted sub-.890 save percentages. The defence wasn’t great, but these two were just not it.
Heading into the offseason word began creeping out that Cam Talbot, a goaltender who percolated behind Henrik Lundqvist and was ready to take on a starting role, was a player who could shake loose from the New York Rangers. Glen Sather was preparing to step back from his role as general manager, something he would relinquish five days after he traded Cam Talbot to the Edmonton Oilers.
It was the last move he ever made as a general manager.
Two years later, I spoke with Sather who admitted the deal, which shook out on June 27th, 2015, came out of his desire to get Talbot to Edmonton.
“I have a warm spot in my heart for Edmonton so I tried to get him there and it worked out there for him, he’s turned out to be one hell of a goaltender,” Sather told me.
The cost for Talbot was low. Edmonton sent second and third round picks in 2015 for the netminder, while also swapping sevenths that season. Talbot turned out to be everything and more.
In the 2015-16 season, he took on the starters role and excelled. He posted a 21-27-5 record, a 2.55 GAA and a .917 save percentage while saving 3.3 goals above expected. The Oilers didn’t make the postseason that year, but it set the team up perfectly for a cinderella 2016-17 campaign.
That year, it was all Talbot. He played in 73 of 82 games posting a 42-22-8 record-breaking Grant Fuhr’s record for most wins in a season by an Oilers goaltender. Talbot’s .919 save percentage, 2.39 GAA and +12.2 goals saved above expected helped carry the Oilers to their best season in 12 years.
Edmonton knocked out the San Jose Sharks in six games in the first round of the playoffs that year before falling in seven to the Anaheim Ducks in the second round. Talbot’s game hit another level in the playoffs where he posted a tremendous .924 save percentage. He had another good season in 2017-18, but by 2018-19, the then 31-year-old was starting to struggle.
He played an enormous amount of games in his first three years — 196, to be exact. Over that time, nobody played in more games than him. Heading into February, Talbot looked gassed and his numbers showed. A 9-13-2 record and .894 save percentage was far from where it had been in the past.
The Oilers ultimately traded him to the Philadelphia Flyers on Feb. 15, 2019 in exchange for Anthony Stolarz.
Talbot’s gone on to have some impressive seasons since. Between 2019-20 and the time of writing, he’s appeared in 117 games with the Calgary Flames, Minnesota Wild and most recently, the Ottawa Senators. He’s posted a .914 save percentage and settled into backup roles, for the most part.
In Edmonton, he’ll forever be a cult hero finding his name in the ranks with so many others that came through town over the years. He was the first legitimate starter the Oilers had since the Dwayne Roloson days, and he played a huge, huge part in the success that team had in those few years.
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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