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If The Oilers Have Committed To Mikko Koskinen, Why Do They Continue To Start Cam Talbot?

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Oilers plan on starting Cam Talbot tomorrow in Minnesota

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at Edmonton Oilers
Talbot to start tomorrow versus Wild
Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

You guys get a load of yesterday’s 6-2 loss against Chicago yesterday? Yeah, great stuff.

As the Oilers fumble their way to another year without playoffs (it’s looking like 12 non-playoff years in their last 13), they continue to make moves that appear to defy logic. Even after relieving Peter Chiarelli from his post as General Manager, the club is doing things that don’t see to add up.

Like what?

Like playing Jesse Puljujarvi on the fourth line for nine minutes a night. If you’re going to play him next to Kyle Brodziak and Colby Cave, I’m not sure you’re going to get what you want out of him. Maybe put him in the AHL for more than four games?

Like putting Kris Russell on the ice for a 3-on-3. I know that the Oilers have a limited amount of useful defencemen, but c’mon. You know what you’re getting into when you see Russell out there in extras.

Or, like when they’re going back to the well with Cam Talbot tomorrow in Minnesota.

MESSAGE SENT?

The message appeared to be loud and clear, just one day before Peter Chiarelli’s departure. For better or worse, the Oilers were prepared to make Mikko Koskinen their guy for the next three seasons, offering him a three year contract at 4.5MM a year. That’s a three year extension through 2021-22 for a guy who had 27 games played. Koskinen’s currently kicking around a .906 SV% on the season. That’s not very good, but the curve comes where Edmonton’s been starting Cam Talbot as of late.

The Oilers are mired in a six game losing streak (0-4-2), yet they’re somehow still just three points out of the second wild card position. There are about five other teams that are right next to the Oilers, but the fact that the Oilers could somehow end up in the postseason if they put together a handful of wins is pretty crazy. And through it all, they’re playing the goaltender who likely won’t be in Edmonton after the trade deadline.

GRAB THE REINS

Nothing makes sense. Why sign a guy to an extension if you’re not going to play him down the stretch? It’s a long shot that the Oilers make the playoffs at this point, but why would you keep going back to the well with a guy who quite likely won’t be an Oiler in less than three weeks?

Talbot has struggled this year (he’s hitting a .892 SV%, which is considerably worse than Koskinen’s unimpressive .906%), and there’s a pretty good chance that he could be moved to a team that’s looking for some insurance heading into the playoffs.

If it’s clear that he’s not going to be here in 2019-20, why would he be getting the lion’s share of starts at this time during the season?