As now you’re well aware, the Oilers made the playoffs this past spring for the first time in six thousand years. In case you aren’t aware, it was really something. The club finished with 103 points, just one victory away from the Pacific Division. The Oilers defeated the Sharks in a playoff series, and took Anaheim to seven games.
In net for nearly all of it was Cam Talbot. Aside from a smattering of games featuring Laurent Brossoit or Jonas Gustavsson, Talbot was there for all of it. Talbot played in 73 regular season games plus every playoff game that the Oilers were in.
That’s too many games. Say it with me now: “that’s too many games”. Easier than you thought it would be, hey?
Cam Talbot shouldn’t play that many games in 2017-18. I mean, he can play 73 games, but do you really want him to play 73 games?
BUT TALBOT HAD A GOOD SEASON!
Talbot had a great year. He finished with a .919 SV%, which is the best finish by an Oiler starting goalie since Devan Dubnyk turned a .920 back in 2012-13. Talbot had seven shutouts. His 42 wins is a franchise record. All good, hey? Talbot’s .919 isn’t even his personal best on a year. He posted a beautiful .926 with the Rangers back in 2014-15, though it was over half as many games.
It’s good to be able to count on your guy. Talbot showed us that he can be leaned on heavily this season, and there’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll need to be just as good next year. This is magnified by the fact that Andrej Sekera will miss significant time while recovering from ACL surgery.
In 2016-17, Cam Talbot got nine games off. Nine games over the course of a season isn’t a whole lot. I’ve got absolutely no doubt in my mind that if Jonas Gustavsson didn’t come in and fart up the place that Talbot would’ve gotten a couple more recovery nights. That’s not quite how it worked out, and Talbot was working overtime by the season’s end.
Gustavsson’s tremendously awful 2016-17 campaign saw him appear in just seven games, which was about six too many. A dreary .878 SV% permanently kept him on the shelf after allowing four goals in seventeen shots in a January 7th loss to Ottawa. The Oilers didn’t really have much choice but to run Talbot until the wheels rocked off.
Fortunately for the Oilers, that didn’t happen. For better or worse, Talbot held it together this year. Burnout didn’t appear to be a big factor, but I believe that your backup needs to come in and play some games in order to give your number one the night off on the second of a back-to-back.
BROSSOIT ON BACKUP
Barring anything wacky, the Oilers will likely open the year with Laurent Brossoit behind Cam Talbot. This past season, Brossoit appeared in eight games, and his .928% looks pretty good from here. Can Brossoit hold up the fort for about twenty games? Now’s the time to find out. Cam Talbot is going to be counted on to play the lion’s share of the contests. The Oilers could do him a solid by giving him a couple more nights off along the way.