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Cam Talbot’s Next Contract

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WIth one year remaining on his deal, what’s in store for Talbot after 2018-19?

Calgary Flames v Edmonton Oilers
Cam Talbot has one year remaining on his deal.
Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

2017-18 stunk.

There’s no nice way to put a bow on it. It stunk for just about every Oiler not named Connor McDavid. Leon’s on the cusp of 70 points, so there’s a decent season as well. “Disaster” might be too strong a word; though it might also not be strong enough. It’s surely been a disappointment. I think we can all agree.

THEN

Please recall 2016-17. You will recall this year as the year that Connor McDavid set the NHL ablaze with 100 points. The Oilers finished the season with 103 total points. I don’t think if you combined the last three full seasons that the Oilers would’ve reached 103 points. Alright, maybe that’s a little much. You get the idea. You will likely recall this year as the one where the Oilers snapped a rather lengthy playoff drought. Leon Draisaitl had a 77 point year. The Oilers ranked eighth in the league in goals scored. Everyone was healthy.

And Cam Talbot was lights out.

Talbot finished the regular season with a .919 SV%. More importantly, he was .927% at evens. He killed it. Talbot had to be good, McLellan rode him like a horse. Talbot appeared in 73 regular season games. He was hot. The Oilers would finally run out of gas in the second round of the playoffs against the Anaheim Ducks.

NOW

Things have changed in a year.

The lustre of 2016-17 wore off almost immediately after the 2017-18 season began. The first ten games saw Edmonton go 3-6-1, they’d finish December under .500. If they defeat Vancouver on Saturday night, they’ll finish with 78 points on the year. The team is weaker offensively having dealt Jordan Eberle for Ryan Strome. There have been a rash of injuries to the club. Special teams are abysmal. Edmonton ranks 18th in goals scored. They’re 26th in goals allowed .

And Talbot? .907% all situations, .915% at evens. It’s a couple of steps down from last season.

Talbot is coming on a contract year in 2018-19. Should the Oilers try to re-sign him?

WE RAN A SUPER SCIENTIFIC POLL

Talbot turns 31 in July, and if I’m him, I’m swinging for the fences on my next deal. I’ve got him getting at least another 3 year deal whether it’s with the Oilers or somewhere else. If he starts 2018-19 without a new deal and he starts hot, 3 years might be a conservative estimate.

THE KEY IS THE EVENS

SV% replaced goals against average as the most important statistic when measuring goaltenders many years ago. Today it’s all about that 5 on 5 SV% when you’re measuring goaltenders, and Talbot’s 5 on 5 SV% for his career looks pretty good. Except for this year, where it was not good. Roll tape.

  • 2013-14: .942 (21 GP)
  • 2014-15: .931 (36 GP)
  • 2015-16: .921 (56 GP)
  • 2016-17: .927 (73 GP)
  • 2017-18: .915 (66 GP)
  • Career Average: .924

Source (Hockey Reference)

You’ll be quick to notice that 2017-18 is shaping up to be his least productive while 5 on 5. Talbot has had eleven games this year where his SV% has been below .850. They all add up.

  • So is Talbot going to rebound?

Probably.

  • Should the Oilers offer him a contract past 2018-19?

I think they can make a deal that works for both sides.

DOLLARS AND SENSE

If you’re Edmonton, you probably want Cam Talbot for a couple more years after this one. I think there’s a very good chance that Talbot rebounds to his pre-2017/18 self, and if the Oilers don’t soil the sheets in the offseason (e.g; they sign a Thomas Vanek-like player to pay top six and help score some damn goals) then it might actually be fun to watch some Oilers hockey next year. Maybe after that, too. Who would’ve thought?

A major player here will be free cap, and how much of that the Oilers will have. While there’s some talk that the cap will be as high as 82 million next season, there are absolutely no guarantees past then. The Oilers will already have their hands tied this offseason needing to re-sign Darnell Nurse and at least seven other bodies for around 18-20 million.

SO WHAT DO YOU DO?

I’d offer Talbot another three year deal at 5 million each. He’ll probably want longer, and the Oilers would probably like to keep it short and sweet. Let’s meet in the middle. 5 million is a bit more than his current AAV of 4.15, and I’d try to avoid any NMC/NTC along the way. I’d try to get the deal done between now and the beginning of next season.

If Talbot looks anything like his pre-2017-18 self, it’ll work out perfectly. He’s got several years of prior quality performance that suggest that this year is an outlier, and his previous work is what I’m betting on going forward.