To the surprise of no one, the Edmonton Oilers traded goalie Cam Talbot to the Philadelphia Flyers for Anthony Stolarz.
The goalie swap, which gives the Flyers some stability and helps the Oilers clear some cap space for the returning Andrej Sekera, is the first for interim Edmonton general manager Keith Gretzky. He’s tasked with cleaning up the mess from general manager Peter Chiarelli, mercifully ousted from the post about a month ago now.
The trade is interesting because both teams obtained what they wanted.
For the Flyers, it was a goaltender to stabilize the situation. Talbot will bolster Carter Hart. He’d been mentoring the young netminder in Edmonton.
And Philadelphia was looking to dump someone from their wealth of goalies. That’s where Gretzky comes in, with a presumably patient approach paying dividends. People were reporting a swap between Philly and Edmonton two days ago, with Brian Elliott possibly on the table.
Gretzky’s capacity to hold out for Stolarz, a less costly and younger netminder, gives the Oilers something they haven’t had in a while: a win.
Stolarz is in a unique contract position in that he’s a pending Group Six free agent. That means the 25-year-old has to play 28 games this season in order to circumvent unrestricted free agent status at the end of the season to become a restricted free agent. In order for that to happen, Stolarz needs to play 10 more games this year out of a remaining 25 for the Oilers.
It’s an inexpensive way to give a goalie a 10-game tryout, more or less, and it means that it won’t cost anything to Edmonton if they cut him loose.
The Oilers are looking to coagulate their own situation in goal, but they have a budget. Mikko Koskinen was wedged into a three-year deal worth $13.5 million just recently by you-know-who, so that puts the club in a holding pattern of sorts. They have to find the right tandem, which means either making Stolarz fit the bill or cutting him out to test the market this summer.
Next up, Gretzky has some moves to make again. And that could turn the trade market on its ear once more, with the Oilers in dire need of a few solid wingers to give their forward core some necessary depth.
(Photo credit: Drew Hallowell/Getty)