The Edmonton Oilers are a brand new team. Having started 7-0-1 season, the Oilers are appearing to be legitimate contenders in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. With Connor McDavid scoring 13 points in his first 11 games, and the additions of Milan Lucic, Adam Larsson, Kris Russell and the rest of the team playing great hockey, goaltending isn’t a problem. It’s no surprise however, that the Oilers still are not the strongest team defensively so when they can’t be relied on, the Oilers have a starter they can finally rely on. Cam Talbot.
Acquired on June 27th, 2015 from the New York Rangers, Talbot came to a goaltender riddled team for the previous 10 years. Another unproven goalie coming to play on a defensively weak team.
Although, the Edmonton Oilers made a big move to upgrade that weakness. The Oilers acquired defenseman Adam Larsson from the New Jersey Devils, in exchange for Taylor Hall. A move that was criticized by most Oilers fans, but why? Sure, it seemed a bit one-sided when it happened.. but the Oilers are winning.
I am not giving all of the credit to the Larsson for Hall trade. That definitely has an influence in why the Oilers are playing better, finally sacrificing offence for defence. But behind that defence, is a stability the Oilers have needed for awhile in Cam Talbot.
Talbot is an absolute workhorse, leading the NHL in minutes played, saves and shots against. He is also tied for third amongst goalies for wins, with 24.
Talbot has been real good this season, going 24-12-7 with a 2.41 GAA while posting a .919 Sv%. He has stolen many games for the Oilers this year, and anyone who disagrees with Talbot being a big reason for the Oilers success is wrong. This team is finally realizing that hey.. offence does not win championships by itself.
I’ve said this since he was hired, Peter Chiarelli will save this Oilers team, while making them a strong contender.
Oilers fans did get a 56-game preview of Cam Talbot last season, although again.. I don’t think the defence was good enough. Talbot still posted solid numbers, sporting a .917 save percentage. The Oilers can rely on Talbot to steal games for them, and with all the added defence and growth from within the organization, it really helps.
This year, you have Oscar Klefbom really stepping up his game, while Adam Larsson and Kris Russell were both added in the offseason. This Oilers team went from ugly on defence, to playoff worthy.
Sure, Taylor Hall will be missed, but will his attitude towards the game be missed? Probably not. Sacrificing his offensive abilities for more defence on the back-end was an absolute necessity. I kind of scratch my head though why they never got rid of anyone else instead (Nuge, Ebs). I’m sure they tried, but oh well, it’s in the past.
Well I’m sure everyone knows this already but, the future in Edmonton is bright. Led by Connor McDavid and backstopped by Cam Talbot, a long playoff-run is within reach.