Edmonton Oilers lose Cam Talbot to injury, recall Nick Ellis
The Edmonton Oilers have been on a sort of death spiral for the last few weeks.
The Pacific Division Cinderella Story from the 2016-17 campaign has just 10 wins through 25 games so far this season, racing to keep ahead of only the Arizona Coyotes and Buffalo Sabres as the current year passes the quarter mark.
Part of that has been stagnant offense from players not named Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl – but a big part of that has been goaltending, as Cam Talbot struggles to record wins behind the tumultuous franchise.
He’s been lambasted in the media and by fans alike so far this year, with poor angles and uncharacteristic play plaguing him.
Still, he remains their best option in net as December approaches – which makes his current injury a huge blow for the Oilers coming up on the Christmas holiday season.
It was announced on Thursday, per the team, that Talbot has been placed on injured reserve. He’ll be replaced in the lineup for the time being by Nick Ellis, who is currently in his second season with the Bakersfield Condors:
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) November 30, 2017
Talbot posted a less-than-ideal .903 save percentage through 22 games prior to his injury, but his 10-10-1 record is a harsh reminder that backup Laurent Brossoit still hasn’t recorded a win on the season himself.
That means that Brossoit – who is 4-9-2 in his NHL career and winless through six appearances this year – will tandem with Ellis, an undrafted 23-year-old out of Providence College with no games of NHL experience at all.
The good news is that Brossoit has more good games in his arsenal than his record indicates. For example, his last appearance – a loss to the Buffalo Sabres on November 24th – saw him stop 28 of 30 shots and record a .933 save percentage in all situations.
Ellis has also been quite good in the AHL since going pro in 2016, and has a .914 save percentage in 11 games so far this year for the Bakersfield Condors. The 23-year-old Millersville, Maryland native was a Mike Richter Award candidate for his 2015-16 season with Providence (where he posted a .936 save percentage through 36 games and topped Hockey East in the regular season), and is currently the best goaltending prospect in Edmonton’s system by a country mile.
The Oilers will face off against the Toronto Maple Leafs later this evening, hosting the Eastern Conference up-and-comers at 7:00 PM MST.
Expect Brossoit to get the nod, but don’t put too much weight into how the team performs with him as starter. Between now and next Saturday, the Oilers only play three times; unless it comes out that Talbot’s injury is long-term, there shouldn’t be any reason to pull the trigger on a move that ships out an asset for goaltending relief.