Those fantasy owners who placed their bets on the Oilers improving rapidly in Connor McDavid’s second year by drafting Talbot relatively cheaply were rewarded in spades last year, as he easily led all goalies in appearances with a whopping 73 and won 42 of them, tying Braden Holtby for tops in the NHL in that category. Talbot did that despite not improving all that much from the prior campaign, as his .919 save percentage and 2.39 GAA were quite respectable, but hardly a major departure from his 2015-16 results (.917, 2.55). The Oilers would surely like to dial back the 30-year-old’s enormous workload to a somewhat more reasonable level -- say, the mid-60s -- but it’s not clear how many starts they'll feel comfortable having backup Laurent Brossoit shoulder. Although his ratios fall short of elite, Talbot’s liberal usage and team context make him one of the finest goaltending options in this fall’s fantasy drafts.
Although Edmonton’s disorganized defense was a far cry from what Talbot enjoyed as a member of the Rangers, he still managed to put up a respectable 2.55 GAA and .917 save percentage in his first season as a starter. The University of Alabama in Huntsville alum returns as the Oilers’ unquestioned top option in the crease, and an improved blue line should help his stats while also giving Talbot a good chance at finally eclipsing the 21-win mark, which he’s reached in two consecutive seasons. His save percentage has dropped with a bigger sample in each of his three NHL campaigns, but this season could reverse that trend if the Oilers do indeed take a step forward as expected.
Expectations on Talbot may be a bit unrealistic this season. The Oilers were moved to acquire the 28-year-old after he was fantastic as the Rangers’ starter when King Henrik went down last season, finishing with a 21-9-4 record, five shutouts, a 2.21 GAA, and a .926 save percentage. But that was behind an ironclad blue line, something the Oilers just don’t have. It’s going to be a tough haul for Talbot to prove he’s capable of being a starting NHL goalie in the colds of Alberta. He could still win 30 games, but those ratios will certainly take hit. Talbot is better suited as a second goalie in a deep league than a guy you can rely on to solidify your twine tent.
At 6-3, the Ontario native weighs more than the 200 pounds he's listed at. It's widely assumed that if Henrik Lundqvist were to leave for greener pastures after the upcoming season, Talbot would be the next in line behind Martin Biron. Of course, with Henrik locked up for the upcoming season and Biron's advanced age, Talbot will need to be sharper than he's been at the AHL level before any talk of "grooming" commences. The Alabama-Huntsville alum has posted a 50-52-4 record with eight shutouts through three-plus seasons with the AHL's Wolf Pack.
Talbot signed with the Rangers in 2010 and spent most of his time with the AHL Connecticut Whale last season before being added to the Rangers' playoff roster. Talbot faces long odds to make the Blueshirts' roster with Henrik Lundqvist and Martin Biron entrenched in their spots, but he's a name fantasy owners should know in case their is a rash of goaltending injuries at Madison Square Garden.