Oilers Land Coveted Talbot; Rangers Get Raanta
The Edmonton Oilers may have found their new starting goaltender. On the second day of the draft, the Oilers traded their 57th, 79th, and 184th picks to the New York Rangers for Cam Talbot and the 209th pick. He comes to the Oilers with an NHL save percentage of .931 but in only 52 career games.
Talbot will surely get a chance to compete with Ben Scrivens for the starter’s job on a re-invigorated Oilers team. With new coach Todd McLellan and the first overall draft pick Connor McDavid, it will be an interesting situation to keep an eye on.
Glen Sather and the Rangers were reportedly holding out for a first-round pick, but will have to settle for a group of later round selections instead. Talbot was not going to progress ahead of the incumbent Henrik Lundqvist in New York, so this deal makes sense from both sides. Rangers goalie guru Beniot Allaire managed to turn Talbot, an undrafted free agent signing in 2010, into a good asset, but the move is not without risk for New York.
Not only were the Rangers unable to extract the first round pick some reports indicated was on the table already earlier this week, but they were left without a backup who could give an aging Lundqvist enough time to rest during the season and make sure he stays sharp heading into the playoffs.
This need was addressed with the acquisition of Antti Raanta from the Chicago Blackhawks after the close of the draft. Raanta is a bit of an unknown commodity at 26 years old with only 39 career games (.912 save percentage), but he comes on a very cap-friendly deal that has one season left at a $750,000 cap hit and has a strong pedigree from his native Finland, including a Urpo Ylonen award as the Finnish Liiga’s best goaltender in 2012-13.
Blessed with the skills most have come to expect from Finnish goalies, including good mobility and skating as well as active hands to control rebounds, Raanta should be able to provide Lundqvist the breaks he’ll need.
InGoal Magazine take on Talbot:
“At 6-foot-3 and blessed with a wide butterfly, Talbot has the ideal physical makeup. He has a nice blend of technical proficiency with his lower body, moving into and off of his posts using a mix of modern techniques, but doesn’t default prematurely to a blocking butterfly with his arms locked tight at the sides. He has shown off good hands and even better hand-eye coordination with late reactive saves in re-direction situations where a lot of goalies might already be stuck in drop-and-block mode. He plays almost exclusively within the blue ice, or more accurately within an imaginary rectangle inside that crease created by Rangers goaltending guru Benoit Allaire. He’s not as deep as Lundqvist, but Talbot rarely wanders far and the result is shorter, more controlled, inside-out movements that prioritize angle and should always keep him in position to at least have a chance to make a save.
“The bigger questions will be how Talbot handles an increased workload beyond a more porous defense. The good news is Edmonton general manager Peter Chiarelli knows better than most that goaltending does not exist in a vacuum. During his time in Boston, he saw a lot of goalies struggle after leaving the insulation provided by the Bruins stingy defense, and is already taking steps to improve the back end and emphasis on defending within the team system, something he talked about extensively going into the Draft. It’s also good that Talbot got a taste of being the No.1 when Lundqvist was hurt last season. Don’t underestimate how big a jump it is when you have to get ready to play every game and focus on managing your energy instead of managing your game with the goalie coach between starts. Watch those first games after Lundqvist went down and Talbot clearly struggled with it, but his ability to get back on track during that streak without needing time off to reset with Allaire was a major step in his development curve and one Oilers fans should be encouraged by.”
~ Kevin Woodley, InGoal Magazine Managing Editor