Edmonton Oilers

Why Flyers traded Anthony Stolarz to Oilers for Cam Talbot

Why Flyers traded Anthony Stolarz to Oilers for Cam Talbot

Here comes number eight.

The Flyers acquired Cam Talbot in a trade with the Edmonton Oilers late Friday night in exchange for Anthony Stolarz, the Flyers' 2012 second-round selection (see story).

The move means at some point the Flyers will become the first team in NHL history to start eight different goaltenders in one season after tying the 1989-90 Quebec Nordiques on Dec. 18.

There’s a good chance Talbot could make his Flyers debut Sunday in Detroit as interim head coach Scott Gordon stated Thursday he was uncertain who would start that game. 

Here are some important questions surrounding general manager Chuck Fletcher’s latest move.

Why trade Stolarz?

Here’s the perplexing question perhaps on the minds of many who were hoping for a Carter Hart-Anthony Stolarz duo next season. The Flyers feel they need a solid veteran who can start next season alongside Hart.

As well as Stolarz has played, he’s still very raw and limited when it comes to NHL experience (just 19 games). Plus, there’s still some internal concern regarding his health. Stolarz has required knee surgery twice over the past 18 months, and sustained another lower-body injury this season that kept him out of action for six weeks.

Even if the Flyers valued Stolarz, he’s a restricted free agent following this season and would need to clear waivers just to be assigned to the Phantoms next season. Sensing a team would likely claim him to start the season (much like the Flyers did with Calvin Pickard), Stolarz became expendable.

Unfortunately, you just can’t keep everyone and this gives Stolarz a great opportunity moving forward in Edmonton.

Why acquire Talbot?

As we mentioned the other day, Talbot has experience as a starter with the Oilers and a backup with the New York Rangers. He led the NHL with 140 starts from 2015-17 while backstopping the Oilers to the playoffs in 2016-17.

What’s very important is that he has a strong relationship with Hart after the two goaltenders worked together this past summer. Talbot will know exactly what his role is moving forward.

“We partnered up and took the ice for goalie sessions this summer,” Hart said this month. “He’s a great mentor, he’s a good guy, a great goalie. He’s the guy I called before my first start to ask about pregame jitters and what to expect.” 

Will they re-sign Talbot?

In all likelihood, yes. Consider the final 25 regular-season games somewhat of a trial run for Talbot. The Flyers want a firsthand look at how Talbot fits in with his new team, and is he still capable of winning games and playing well?

Plus, Talbot needs to make his own determination of whether he wants to stay in Philadelphia or test the free-agent market this summer. I would expect the Flyers to offer a two-year contract in the $2.5-3.5 million range, which would be perfect as Hart still has two years remaining on his entry-level deal.

What's the next move?

Well, the Flyers won’t carry four goaltenders on the roster, that’s for certain. Once Brian Elliott is ready to return to Philadelphia following his conditioning stint with the Phantoms, expect Mike McKenna to be placed on waivers, and if he clears, to be sent down to the Phantoms.

However, for Saturday’s game against the Red Wings, McKenna will serve as the backup to Hart.

Interesting tidbit

Talbot’s first NHL start came against the Flyers on Oct. 24, 2013 — a 2-1 loss. However, his first NHL win was a 3-2 victory over the Red Wings in his next start. Hart’s first NHL win was also a 3-2 victory against those same Red Wings.

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Flyers acquire Cam Talbot from Oilers in exchange for Anthony Stolarz

Flyers acquire Cam Talbot from Oilers in exchange for Anthony Stolarz

There's another goalie in the picture for the Flyers.

The team acquired Cam Talbot from the Edmonton Oilers late Friday night in exchange for Anthony Stolarz.

In 284 NHL games, the 31-year-old Talbot has 137 wins, a 2.59 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage.

He has a great relationship with rookie sensation Carter Hart.

"He's actually the guy that I called the night before my first game," Hart said before facing his hometown Oilers earlier this month. “Just to ask him a couple questions a little bit, get some knowledge from him. He's been a guy who has texted me every now and then throughout the season to see how I'm doing and he's a really good guy."

Talbot put together a superb 2016-17 season in which he went 42-22-8 with a 2.39 goals-against average, .919 save percentage and seven shutouts.

Stolarz, a second-round pick in 2012, has a 4-3-3 record this season with a .902 save percentage and a 3.33 goals-against average.

The 25-year-old played in just one AHL game and three ECHL contests last season because of a torn meniscus in his left knee. He has been through a ton with injuries.

"The biggest thing was mentally," Stolarz said in September about overcoming his injuries. "You get hurt right around training camp, you're obviously going to be a little upset, a little depressed. At first, it kind of took its toll seeing guys going back down to Allentown, guys making the big club. But I had a great support staff, my family, my teammates, Jimmy McCrossin, Sal Raffa, I worked with Jarrod Spencer, the mental coach with the Phantoms.

"I tried to take the positives out of that, too, I went to a ton of Flyers games, I was able to watch some very good goalies — Carey Price, Pekka Rinne, guys that have made their mark. I was able to take things from their game and try to incorporate into mine when I got back. This is what I work for."

Stolarz, who is set to become a restricted free agent in the offseason — and potentially unrestricted depending on games played — now has a new shot with the Oilers.

Meanwhile, the Flyers have played seven goalies this season and an eighth is on the way (see story).

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Flyers 5, Oilers 4 (OT): Another comeback punctuates 7th straight win for NHL's hottest team

Flyers 5, Oilers 4 (OT): Another comeback punctuates 7th straight win for NHL's hottest team

BOX SCORE

The NHL's hottest team is having some fun working overtime.

The Flyers rallied again for a second straight game to pick up an OT victory, this time a 5-4 decision over the Oilers on Saturday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center.

Nolan Patrick delivered the game-winner for the Flyers (23-23-6), who have won seven straight games, the longest active winning streak in the NHL. 

The Flyers have won eight of their last nine and entered the day nine points out of the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot.

The Oilers (23-24-4), on the other hand, have lost 13 of their last 18.

• Four of the Flyers' goals were off the power play, a major positive for a team that came in with the league's 29th-ranked unit. The Flyers need their man advantage if they're serious about making a push for the playoffs.

Sean Couturier, Claude Giroux, Travis Konecny and Wayne Simmonds all cashed in. The tallies by Konecny and Simmonds were particularly huge. Konecny's goal was 27 seconds after the Flyers fell behind, 4-2, on a shorthanded goal in the third period, while Simmonds' marker was the equalizer with 8:58 left in regulation.

Here's a look at all four:

The Flyers' power play now has six goals over the last two games. Prior to this stretch, the man advantage went 2 for 25 over the previous nine contests.

• Connor McDavid is a can't-miss attraction when the Oilers make their one and only trip to the Wells Fargo Center each season. He's the fastest player in the NHL and showed why when he hit another gear to hand the Flyers a 2-1 deficit during the first period.

Fourth-liner Phil Varone tried to keep up (God bless him) but simply didn't have a chance, along with Radko Gudas.

The Flyers couldn't exactly hold the 22-year-old superstar in check as McDavid finished with a goal, an assist and a plus-2 mark.

• Giroux (goal, two assists), Jakub Voracek (three assists) and Couturier (goal, assist) all had multi-point games. Couturier has been over a point-per-game player (40 points in last 39 games) since Oct. 30.

• The Oilers, having not played since Jan. 22 because of the All-Star break and bye week, looked fresh and spry, coming at Carter Hart from all angles.

The 20-year-old, who has won six straight starts, was not the main culprit for any of the four goals allowed. The first and fourth came off breakaways (one shorthanded), the second was off McDavid's nasty play, while the third was the Flyers giving Adam Larrson a wide-open shooting lane from the circle.

Hart was good and made some really tough saves. He finished with a career-high 40.

• Shayne Gostisbehere returned after missing the past three games with a lower-body injury. He looked fine, rejoining the top power-play unit, notching an assist and playing 21:27. He also had a costly turnover on the Oilers' 4-2 shorthanded goal.

However, we shouldn't forget how important he is to this team's future (see story).

• The Flyers practice Sunday in Voorhees, New Jersey, before hosting the Canucks Monday (7 p.m./NBCSP) for Game 2 of their five-game homestand.

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