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BLOG: Chiarelli confident in sample size

by Chris Wescott / Edmonton Oilers

Cam Talbot has played just 83 NHL games in his career, but the Oilers felt confident with that sample size to ink the netminder to a three-year extension.

Talbot, who was acquired at the draft in a trade with the New York Rangers, has gotten hot as of late. He has started 10 of the Oilers last 12 games, and has a .949 save percentage in his last five. Signing him to an extension was not based solely on his performance as of late, which is only one of the factors in determining that course of action.

“I judge it not just over this last stretch, where he’s been very good, but from what I’ve seen before,” said Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli. “At the start of the year, he had a down stretch. What really impressed me about Cam was he was able to work through it. I saw his practices. I saw him working on a number of different things when he wasn’t playing. To be a number one goalie, you have to have the demeanour, you have to have the resiliency, the mental toughness to get through those gaps because you’re not going to be playing like a number one goalie all the time. Over a long period of time, you will. That really impressed me about Cam. Of course, he’s been playing terrific lately as well.”

Chiarelli concedes that some “pundits” may not believe Talbot’s sample size is big enough, but what he has shown to the Oilers and Chiarelli not just this season but the entirety of his career was enough to make a longer comittment to the previously pending UFA.

“Certainly, there are pundits that will say he’s only played x-number of games, but our job is to make decisions based on information we’ve had from the past and basically through experience and we felt comfortable with Cam, for one, acquiring him for two draft picks and two, signing him,” said Chiarelli. “There’s no magical sample size. I’ve had experience before with goalies with a lot less or in and around the same sample size, and committing to them. Tim Thomas is one. They’ve matured at a later age. That’s certainly a case with Cam and we feel confident. His character, his work ethic, the technical and athletic side of his game, all kind of fall into place for us. His win-loss record isn’t great, but I’m discounting that because I see other other areas of his game that have been very good.”

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