To be honest, the Edmonton Oilers as a whole have had an awful season, we simply cannot blame just one day. However, the target often lands on star goalie Cam Talbot. Though the Canadian club is expected to stick with the 30-year-old netminder for the upcoming season, The Athletic's Allan Mitchell wonders what the Oilers could pull this summer to make sure Talbot gets back to better form.
Talbot has one season remaining on his contract, with a no-movement clause becoming a modified no-trade on July 1. As Mitchell explains, "effectively, that means the Oilers could acquire a goalie this summer as a replacement and deal Talbot via the relaxation of his no movement."
Wow, this would be quite the shocking move for the Oilers, as general manager Peter Chiarelli will need to investigate his options before pulling a trade he could regret (once again - thinking of the move that sent Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils for Adam Larsson here).
The top free agent goalies this summer include Arizona Coyotes' Antti Raanta, Boston Bruins' Anton Khudobin, St. Louis Blues' Carter Hutton and Winnipeg Jets' Michael Hutchinson. Raanta could be considered the best of the bunch but Mitchell noted it isn’t clear if he can take on the starter’s job and remain healthy or successful.
"Raanta is having a fine season and would be a candidate to replace Talbot, but the cost in cap may prove to be prohibitive. If Chiarelli could finesse a reasonable deal for Raanta on July 1, that might work if he can find a new team for Talbot via trade. However, it isn't clear Raanta can take on a No. 1 role and stay healthy/succeed," Mitchell writes.
However, a safer less exuberant option would be to retain Talbot and perhaps add an affordable and reliable backup instead. We can say that Talbot endured a rough season but so did most of his teammates. The Oilers struggles this season were largely a team-related issue. Talbot's career statistics and solid play as the starting goaltender in Edmonton during the two previous years point to his ability of being trusted at a number one netminder.
We should expect that if the Oilers make a move for a goalie, it’ll likely be for an experienced backup.
"A solid backup who might grow into the starter's role could be an option. If the general manager isn't sure of Al Montoya or Laurent Brossoit, signing Khudobin or Hutchinson as backup may give the club a more substantial option if injury or slump occurs," Mitchell concludes.
"That's probably the right call for Edmonton over the summer. Arriving at opening night with quality, depth and balance would be both welcome and unusual compared to past Octobers for the team. Emotions aside, retaining Talbot as the No. 1 goalie is the play here."
What do you think the Oilers should do? Keep Talbot and bring an experienced backup on board or start all over in net and make a move to land a new starting goalie in between the pipes?