The Edmonton Oilers seemingly made a decision on which goaltender they felt would lead them next season when they handed out a three-year extension to Mikko Koskinen just days before firing former GM Peter Chiarelli. Now things aren’t so clear. Frank Seravalli of TSN reports that the Oilers have recently had a conversation with Cam Talbot and are leaving the door open for a possible extension. Talbot is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year. Seravalli does note that the Oilers are facing imminent cap issues with the improving health of Andrej Sekera, and moving Talbot’s $4.17MM cap hit is an obvious way to clear some room.
An extension for Talbot would be a very surprising move, given how he has struggled this season and how much money the team already committed to Koskinen. With $4.5MM already assigned to the big Finnish netminder, Talbot would need to come in much lower than his current price in order to avoid making an extremely expensive duo. The Oilers already have more than $70MM committed to next season, with plenty of work to do to turn around their fate.
It also would be a surprising move given that the team doesn’t have a GM in place at the moment, instead letting Keith Gretzky run the daily operations. The team is taking their search for a new GM slowly, but there are obviously decisions to be made before the trade deadline. It’s hard to imagine the team wouldn’t have a shot at re-signing Talbot in the offseason though even if they did trade him, unless a late-season surge forces whatever acquiring team to retain his services. After posting an .894 save percentage through 27 games this season, it doesn’t seem like that surge is coming.
Somehow though, the Oilers need to clear some cap space in the short-term. Sekera is nearing a return to the ice and with it his $5.5MM cap hit will come off long-term injured reserve. Edmonton doesn’t have enough room for that to happen at the moment, and certainly not if they are hoping to add any pieces at the trade deadline to take a run at the playoffs this season.