The Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames are trading goalies without actually making a trade.
The Oilers have signed former Flames’ starter Mike Smith to a one-year contract worth $2 million, while the Flames have signed former Oilers’ starter Cam Talbot to a one-year contract worth $2.75 million.
The Oilers get: A 37-year-old goalie who spent the past two seasons in Calgary. Smith struggled mightily all the way up to mid-February (3.11 GAA, .889 SV%), but he got his game back to track enough to be named the Flames’ starting goalie during the playoffs. His late-season play (2.08 GAA and .916 SV%) and playoff performance (.917 SV%) suggest that there might be something left in the tank. However, his joining the defensively-challenged Oilers seems like a risky proposition for fantasy owners.
The Flames get: Talbot, a goalie who showed mixed results in just over three and a half seasons in Edmonton. In Talbot’s first two seasons in Edmonton, he averaged a 2.46 GAA and .918 SV% in helping the Oilers break their playoff drought. After that, Talbot struggled mightily, averaging a 3.13 GAA and .903 SV% before being traded to the Flyers in February. So unlike Smith, Talbot does not have the recency effect working for him and will try to revive his career in Calgary.
Since Peter Chiarelli believed in Mikko Koskinen enough over half a season to award him a three-year contract worth $4.5 million, Koskinen is still the golden boy in Edmonton. Smith is being brought in to (try to) stabilize the goaltending situation and provide better competition for Koskinen than Anthony Stolarz was able to provide after being acquired in the Talbot deal. Matching his 42 games played in Calgary in 2018-19 might be on the high end of his games-played projection, but he could easily turn this into a timeshare situation. However, there’s the issue of the Oilers’ defense in front of him, a defense that is clearly inferior to the group in Calgary.
In order to determine who the starter is in Calgary, we may need to lo