Oilers goalie Cam Talbot having ‘best year’ of his life – on and off the ice

When the Swedish star was injured in 2014-15, Talbot took over for 21 games and helped the Rangers make the playoffs.The day after the Oilers selected Connor McDavid in the 2015 NHL draft, they acquired Talbot for that year’s 62nd, 79th and 184th picks. In his last year, he won 12 and ranked fifth in the NCAA in save percentage.It was enough to attract the attention of the New York Rangers, who signed him as an undrafted free agent in April, 2010. Now, the Oilers are in the playoffs for the first time since 2006, even if the twins are keeping him up at night.“It must be a track meet around the house,” said Todd McLellan, the Oilers’ coach.Talbot would not trade it for anything.“Personally and professionally, it has been the best year of my life,” he said.“I am taking things day by day.” Fans line up at Rogers Place to take pictures with a giant Cam bobblehead. That’s the kind of year it has been for Edmonton’s goalie. He makes a save, and calms down the bench.”The Talbot twins – Landon Thomas and Sloane Colleen – will be six months old on Wednesday. 18, Cam Talbot made 31 saves to help the Edmonton Oilers beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2. He needed a scholarship to help pay for university. He started a league-high 73 games, and tied for first with 42 wins, a franchise record.Not even the birth of his first son and daughter could distract him.“I have been very impressed with the way he has taken care of his family and his whole body all season,” said Oscar Klefbom, the Oilers’ defenceman. Her brother was one of his best friends on the team. “When things go wrong, he isn’t scrambling. “For me to be the guy for a team that is in the Stanley Cup [playoffs] is very humbling.”After McDavid, Talbot has become the Oilers’ most popular player. “He is a real professional.”In three playoff games against the San Jose Sharks, Talbot has stopped all but three of 83 shots. When it came time for college, little interest was shown in him. Perhaps Robin Kovacs, Sergey Zborovskiy and Adam Huska will become great players; if not, for Edmonton, it was a steal.“When I with the Rangers, I dreamed of getting a chance to be a starting goalie in the NHL,” Talbot said Sunday night after stopping 23 shots in the Oilers’ 1-0 win over the Sharks. Personalities are beginning to emerge. Around 6 the next morning, he and his wife, Kelly, were en route to the hospital for the birth of their twins. With a .918 save percentage over more than 100 games, he is easily the most proficient in Oilers history, a rich one that includes Hall-of-Famer Grant Fuhr. She is the real MVP this year.”Cam and Kelly met when they were attending the University of Alabama in Huntsville. The cesarean section was planned months earlier, on an off day for the team.The next night at Rogers Place, Talbot wore his babies’ yellow hospital bands around his right wrist and made 34 saves as the Oilers beat the Blues 3-1. He enters Tuesday night’s game at the SAP Center with back-to-back shutouts against last season’s Stanley Cup finalists. I am just one part of the puzzle.”At 29, Talbot has become one of the sport’s elite goaltenders. His family was not well off. “The rest is history.”Growing up in Caledonia, Ont., Talbot was a decent hockey player but never a great one. He has nine shutouts this year, including these past two in the postseason.“Cam always looks calm in there,” said Jordan Eberle, the Oilers right wing. “In the middle of the night one cries, and the other wakes up. When one has a toy, the other tries to get it.“It’s tiring,” Talbot said. On Oct. This group is a confident group right now. Now, the roles are reversed. He and Kelly own a rescue dog, a mixed breed named Winnie.He is on a heck of a run. Then he put together a season worthy of consideration for a Vézina Trophy. After three seasons in the minor leagues, he became Henrik Lundqvist’s backup. He received an offer from Alabama-Huntsville, one of only two southern schools in the United States playing NCAA Division 1 hockey.He won three games in his first two seasons. It seems never ending.“On game days, my wife takes them in the other room to feed them so that I can rest. Initially, Landon was the screamer. He has won their hearts with his play, his twins and with his kindness.Several times this year, he donated his $1,000 player-of-the-month prize to the Second Chance Animal Rescue Society. In October came the twins. He is the hardest-working in the NHL. Last summer, he was the starting goalie when Team Canada won a gold medal at the IIHF world championship. “I feel pretty good. Nobody who has worn an Edmonton jersey for any length of time comes close. The Oilers have a 2-1 lead, with the best-of-seven quarter-final series returning to Edmonton on Thursday night.“I try to just go about my business and not think about how big all of this is,” Talbot said Monday after the Oilers skated for a half-hour to stretch their legs. They hit it off, but Cam tread cautiously at first.“Eventually, I got her brother’s blessing,” he said.