According to a report from Sportsnet’s Mark Spector, Edmonton Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot has received an invitation from Team Canada to represent the country at the upcoming 2018 IIHF World Hockey Championships in Denmark next month.
As Spector points out, Talbot has not yet decided whether or not he’ll accept the invitation. Legendary NHL goaltenders Martin Brodeur and Sean Burke will co-manage the team in Denmark, after having collaborated on Canada’s 2018 Winter Olympic squad in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
It’s no secret amongst Oilers fans that Talbot hasn’t been himself this season, could a good showing with a strong Team Canada help him put the woes of the 2017-18 season behind him? On the other hand, the 30 year old goaltender looks tired and worn out after playing 65 games for the Oilers this season. His 3.05 goals against average and .907 save percentage only tell part of the story. The truth is that Talbot hasn’t been great… but he hasn’t been terrible either. He’s still a great goaltender with the ability to bounce back in a big way next season. Could a strong World Championships showing help kick start that?
Oilers fans may recall that Talbot represented Canada as the starting goaltender for the team's gold medal winning squad at the 2016 IIHF World Championships. Talbot was dynamite in that tournament and ended up setting a tournament record with four shutouts. It's no coincidence that he had a career year the following season with the Oilers.
Oilers stars Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent Hopkins have already committed to Canada’s roster, so it’s not as if Talbot would be solo in a foreign land. If nothing else, three big parts of the Oilers’ core could use the experience as a jumping off point for success next season. And, you never know… other youngsters like Darnell Nurse and Ryan Strome may warrant consideration from Canada’s management staff, as well.
You can bet that Leon Draisaitl will be there to represent team Germany, ditto for Jesse Puljujarvi for team Finland. If Talbot accepts his invitation, it’s not unreasonable to think that Oilers fans could still be cheering on on a half dozen or so of the team’s players this spring, despite the Oilers falling well short of a playoff spot.