Talbot went 21-9-4 with a .926 save percentage last season — which was very good — but the 28-year-old has started only 53 career NHL games — which is not much to go on.
“I think he’s really come into his own,” Chiarelli said of Talbot, per the Edmonton Journal. “With a goalie like that, there’s a smaller sample size for these guys, so you never know. It’s such an inexact science these goalies. But he’s played really well for two years now. And he really played well in crunch time for the Rangers.”
Talbot will compete with incumbent Ben Scrivens for the net next season. Both goalies are pending unrestricted free agents, so the club isn’t tied to either long term. Another goalie, Anders Nilsson, is in the mix, too.
Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Edmonton Oilers.
For a ninth consecutive season the Edmonton Oilers found themselves on the outside looking in when the playoffs began last spring.
Edmonton’s 24-44-14 record was good for 13th in the Western Conference and 28th overall.
As a result of another poor regular season, the Oilers landed in the NHL Draft lottery and for a fourth time in six years won the first overall selection picking Connor McDavid at the June draft.
Jordan Eberle led the Oilers in scoring with 24 goals and 63 points in 81 games, but finished well off his career-high of 34 goals set during the 2011-12 season.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins continued to see his goal totals rise setting a new career-high with 24 goals and matched his personal-best 56 points.
Injuries limited Taylor Hall to just 53 games. The 23-year-old scored 14 goals and 24 assists. His 38 points were good for third in Oilers scoring.
Justin Schultz was the top scoring defenseman with six goals goals and 31 points to go along with a minus-17 rating in 81 games.
In goal, Ben Scrivens shouldered the load going 15-26-11 while posting a 3.16 G.A.A. and a .890 save percentage in 57 appearances.
The biggest off-season moves for the Oilers came off the ice as Peter Chiarelli replaced Craig MacTavish as the club’s general manager and hired Todd McLellan to take over as head coach from Todd Nelson.
On the ice, Chiarelli addressed some of the club’s biggest issues trading for goaltender Cam Talbot and defenseman Griffin Reinhart.
Edmonton also added depth trading veteran Boyd Gordon to Arizona for Lauri Korpikoski.
Chiarelli dipped into the free agent pool and inked free agent defenseman Andrej Sekera and center Mark Letestu.
Not that anyone expects the Edmonton Oilers to win the Stanley Cup next season. But at the very least, with Connor McDavid, a new coach in Todd McLellan, and a few other tweaks, there’s pressure for them to be much better.
Cam Talbot will shoulder much of that pressure. The 28-year-old goalie that the Oilers got in a trade with the Rangers is expected to battle Ben Scrivens for the starting job next season. Another goalie, Anders Nilsson, is in the mix, too.
“It’s definitely an exciting time for this organization to get a generational player like everyone’s been saying like Connor,” Talbot said, per NHL.com.
“It’s going to be a great opportunity for me here, to be able to come in and work with a good young group of guys and obviously a group that’s headed in the right direction.”
Goaltending was once again a major issue for Edmonton last season, despite the club’s best efforts to fix the problem with Scrivens and Viktor Fasth.
And let’s not forget that Talbot has only started 53 NHL games in his entire career. Though his numbers are impressive in that small sample (.931 save percentage), it’s like Craig MacTavish once said, “I think anyone who tells you they’re sure about the performance of their goaltenders based on a relatively small sample size, is not likely accurate.”
In Talbot’s favor, he’s been able to watch one of the best in the game go about his business.
“Getting to play behind a guy like [Henrik Lundqvist], you learn a lot and you get to see what it takes to be a No. 1 [goalie] in this league,” he said.
Trade: Oilers add goalie depth, get Nilsson from Chicago
Nilsson, 25, is an interesting entity. Picked 62nd overall by the Isles in 2009, he appeared in 23 games for New York over three seasons before signing with KHL team AK Bars Kazan last summer. A few months later, the Isles traded Nilsson’s rights — he was an RFA upon leaving for Russia — as part of the deal that saw Nick Leddy head to Long Island.
In Russia, Nilsson resurrected his stock by going 20-9-8 with a 1.71 GAA and .936 save percentage. He also played for Team Sweden at the 2015 Worlds, splitting time with Jhonas Enroth.
At 6-foot-5, Nilsson cuts an imposing figure in goal and it’ll be curious to see where he lands on the Edmonton depth chart. Chiarelli went out and acquired Cam Talbot from the Rangers at the draft, and already had Ben Scrivens in the fold. One has to think Scrivens could be in direct competition for the No. 2 gig with Nilsson, assuming Talbot enters the season as the Oilers’ starter.
McDavid, the first overall pick in the 2015 draft, skated yesterday at Rexall Place in the Oilers’ orientation camp.
“It’s very cool,” he said, per Sportsnet. “The history that comes with this organization, the great games that have been played here… It’s such a storied franchise, to walk into the locker room and see all that stuff. It’s very special.”
McDavid’s arrival has Edmonton hockey fans optimistic that the Oilers will soon return to the playoffs for the first time since 2006.
“It’s an exciting time,” he said. “The last couple of years have not gone the way they wanted them to, they’ve brought in some great hockey minds, and they still have such a great young core. I’m just trying to do everything I can to make the team and be a part of that. It’s an exciting time to be a part of this organization.”
Connor McDavid gets a max entry-level deal: $925,000 (which includes $92,500 signing bonus) in salary; up to $2.85M in performance bonuses.