Cam Talbot and the Edmonton Oilers are gearing up to play a pretty important game against the San Jose Sharks tonight. A win for the Oilers will send them to the second round of the NHL playoffs, a place they haven’t been in quite some time.
Talbot’s 42-win season is a new record for an Oiler goalie. Previously held by Grant Fuhr (40 in 1986-87), both Talbot and the Oilers have far exceeded expectations this year. Good fortune has helped Talbot and his club come within one victory of a second round playoff matchup with the Ducks.
One thing Talbot won’t win this year? The Vezina. Voted on by the league’s general managers at the end of the regular season, the Vezina is awarded annually to the League’s best goaltender. A .919 all-situations SV% and 7 shutouts wasn’t enough to earn Talbot a top-3 nomination. Carey Price (.923 SV%, 3 SO), Sergei Bobrovsky (.931 SV%, 7 SO) and Braden Holtby (.925 SV%, 9 SO) are this year’s nominees.
If the list were top-4, Talbot should be in the conversation. Talbot led the league in minutes played (4294) by nearly 500 more than his closest competitor Martin Jones (3800) and was stellar for much of the season. His SV% is tenth in the league among goalies who have played 40 or more games this season. He’s the most consistent goaltender Edmonton has had since Dwayne Roloson (although Dubnyk should definitely be in this discussion save for his abysmal ‘13-14 season).
Cam Talbot might not win the award for the best goaltender of the season. I doubt he’ll lose much sleep over it, especially if the Oilers advance to round 2 tonight.