Cam Talbot likely to be #1 goalie elsewhere this summer
Buzzkill! Sorry folks, I know that’s not what anyone wants to hear but it’s true. Cam Talbot is proving to the entire NHL that he is a starting goalie. This summer, the 27 year old netminder’s trade value will be at its absolute highest. Glen Sather will surely capitalize on it when the season ends.
Cam Talbot extended his contract with the Rangers in December, because he wanted more time to learn under Lundqvist. Talbot’s agent George Bazos told NYDN columnist Stephen Lorenzo, “He wanted to stick around because he really likes the team, he likes New York, he likes the coaches, he likes Benoit Allaire a lot.”
Benoit Allaire is considered one of the league’s best goalie coaches and it’s not a surprise he factored in Talbot’s decision. According to Bazos, Cam turned down multi year offers from the Rangers because his ambition is to become a #1 goalie. However, Cam didn’t feel ready with just a few starts under his belt.
Now Talbot has played in 14 of the Rangers last 15 games going 9-2-3. No matter what team you play for those are impressive numbers. On the year he is 13-6-4 with a GAA of 2.43 and .917 save percentage. His career stats over these last 2 seasons are impressive as well with a record of 25-12-5, 2.06 GAA and .928 save percentage.
These are numbers teams won’t ignore. The Buffalo Sabres traded away both Jhonas Enroth and Michael Neuvirth, so you know they will be in the market for a goalie. The Oilers are also looking for a backstop for the team, and San Jose was looking to move UFA Antti Niemi at the deadline, so they could be in the mix for a goalie.
The return? Maybe a first round draft pick because the Rangers don’t have any this season. Or a potential bigger deal, packaging Cam with a roster player or prospect for a disgruntled star? Is Ryan O’Reilly really going to stay in Colorado? Are the Avalanche completely sold on Semyon Varlamov?
What about a replacement? Sure the Rangers could let the kid MacKenzie Skapski ride the pine but it would hurt his development. A quick look at the backup goalie free agent pool shows some value. Rangers could add Ray Emery, Thomas Greiss or Jason Labarbera for under 1 million. Same goes for a Scott Clemmensen or Curtis McElhinney who would also fit the bill.
If the Rangers wanted to spend a little more, Jonas Gustavsson could likely be had for 1.2 to 1.5 million this summer. Jhonas Enroth is intriguing but I expect him to re-sign with Dallas and get a pay raise.
So many questions and possibilities that it boggles the mind. The only certainty I know is this, the likelihood the Rangers will hold on to him this summer is slim. Reason being is simple, he will be a UFA next summer and trying to trade a rental at the deadline will yield little return.
This summer will be the time to move Cam Talbot and get a proper return. If the Rangers fail to do so, they risk watching a future NHL #1 goalie go for nothing or very little.