It is no secret that if you want to be a playoff team in the NHL perhaps the most important ingredient is a reliable goaltender. This is something the Edmonton Oilers simply have not had for years. Everyone who follows hockey could see the Oilers possessed one of the most dynamic young offenses in all of hockey. The problem was between the pipes and the inexperienced defense.
The solution? Cam Talbot. The guy had played more minutes than any other goaltender this season, appearing in 65 out of 72 games.
Talbot admits, having never been a starter in the NHL before he came to Edmonton, than emerging as one of the top and most reliable goalies in the NHL is a jump that even caught him by surprise.
“You want to be confident in yourself,” he said. “But I still had something to prove to myself and to this organization when I got traded here. I think I’ve done a pretty good job of that.”
Almost everyone in the hockey world was predicting that the Edmonton Oilers were going to snatch up a backup at the trade deadline. That was not the case. Many think Talbot is going to burn out, but that does not appear to be the case either. Talbot looks stronger and stronger every day. Impressively, Cam Talbot is coming off back-to-back shutouts against the Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings.
“He’s in tremendous shape and he’s an efficient goaltender,” said Oilers head coach Todd McLellan, adding that Talbot never wastes a lot of energy out there. “He’s not all over the place. Between whistles he’s not having a seance. He’s resting and relaxed and he’s trained for it.”
Connor McDavid steals a lot of the headlines in Edmonton, and rightfully so. The kid has a chance to be the MVP of the league after his first full season. McDavid is the franchise player everybody dreams of, and he quickly is becoming the face of the NHL.
It is Cam Talbot’s steady influence between the pipes that allows McDavid and company the freedom to display their magic, though.
In fact, Cam Talbot has rewritten the history books when it comes to Edmonton Oilers goaltending. His seven shutouts already have him sitting alone in third-place all-time.
The single-season franchise high is eight shutouts, which was set in 1997-98 by Curtis Joseph and matched by Tommy Salo in 2000-01.
Talbot already has the single-season save percentage mark all to himself. But by far, the most impressive thing is the chance he could potentially break the single-season wins record held by the best Oilers goaltender of all-time, Grant Fuhr.
Talbot currently has 37 wins on the season, which is currently the second best mark in the NHL behind only Sergei Bobrovsky (39). More impressively, it is just three short of the all-time franchise single-season record of 40, set by Fuhr.
This type of goaltending has people in Edmonton believing that the playoff curse could finally be nearing an end.
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