Cam Talbot at 3 x $4.17 – steal or boat anchor?
I’m going to say to you – we won’t know until next year. It’s tough to quantify goaltender value when it comes to contracts.
It’s clear that Chiarelli is committing to Talbot as the starter next year – and $4M for a starter is cheap.
On the other hand, Talbot has a .926 sv%, but has just 80-some NHL games under his belt, and that means there is risk in committing to him. But not as much risk as you might think.
@Woodguy55 looked at Talbot and laid out a solid case that what Talbot has accomplished so far is very rare, and something achieved only by elite or near-elite goalies.
@WheatNOil and I looked at every new goalie in the last decade and found that the first 50 to 70 games of an NHL goalie’s career is a much better predictor of the rest of their career than most people think is the case.
So I would have liked him a bit cheaper, but I like this deal. Remember, this is a pure UFA deal, and at least three other teams were bidding to trade for Talbot last year, so that adds quite a bit to his bargaining power.
Going forward, if we assume Laurent Broissoit is the backup, that’s about $5M and change committed to the goalering next year.
Take a look at this chart (data compiled by @Woodguy55 from war-on-ice.com and generalfanager.com), which shows dollars paid vs save percent for goalies this year (this is at the team level, not the player level, so there are 30 data points):
Notice that there is basically no correlation between how much you spend and what kind of performance you get. If there is a correlation, if anything, it’s slightly negative! That means that many of the goalies on this list that are delivering middling to lousy performance are proven and highly-paid veterans.
Goalies aren’t so much voodoo as a pain in the ass!
Now, take a look at some of the stats around spending and save percent for this dataset:
|Cap $||Sv %|
At $5M, the Oilers would still be well below average for amount of cap spent on goalies if it were this year. And that buys you .905 goaltending or so this year. I expect much better goaltending from Cam Talbot.
Would I like a lower cap hit on this deal? Yes.
But, taking into account risk, cost, and the situation with the rest of the league, this is actually a pretty good signing by Chia.
Now … please fix the defense!