Can Lightning Strike Twice for Cam Talbot?
After a 5-3 loss to the St. Louis Blues, and the Rangers clearly looking like they were in a free fall, they made the surprising move and waived backup goaltender, Marty Biron. To the surprise of everyone, up from the Hartford Wolfpack came a complete unknown (unless you followed the Wolfpack) in the name of Cameron Talbot.
Talbot impressed everyone, and took the pressure off of Henrik Lundqvist when it seemed like he was going to have the worst season of his career. The new backup gave Lundqvist the rest he needed, and the drive he needed to find his game and right the wrongs that happened at the start of the season.
Talbot also appeared twice during the post season, once during game 6 of the Flyers series in round one, and in game 5 of the Conference Finals against the Habs, in Montreal. If you remember, it was Cam Talbot who erased demons in Montreal, as the team won their first game there since the 2008-09 season, with a 1-0 shutout to boot. Ranger fans became enamored in Talbot’s ability and most importantly his calm and cool demeanor.
As Talbot enters his second season as Henrik Lundqvist’s understudy, what can we expect from the impressive netminder? Talbot was lucky to be an unknown, as teams in the early going did not have enough tape on him, and to prepare for him was no easy task. With the video’s and footage of him now, it may be easier for him to get exploited and he will need to rise to this challenge.
Talbot is not here to be the heir apparent to Henrik Lundqvist, just simply because of how long the team signed Lundqvist for. Could Talbot be used as trade bait? Quite possibly, but right now the Rangers goaltending depth isn’t ready for prime time. Brandon Halverson, Mackenzie Skapski, and Igor Shesterkin are too green, and need another year or two with their current teams. The Wolfpack do not have a goaltender that stands out, and haven’t since Talbot left.
Talbot will still be a viable option to start a few games if Lundqvist needs a mental break from the long and arduous NHL season. We will still see Talbot steal some games for the Rangers, just like Lundqvist does majority of his starts for this team. The Rangers need Cam Talbot to be as good if not better than what he was last year. They’ve realized how important a fresh and focused Henrik Lundqvist is to succeed for the playoffs.
Expect Talbot to get 20-22 starts this year for the Rangers. Talbot will have to raise his game to prove that last year wasn’t a fluke and that he can become a capable goaltender in the NHL. And I believe that he can do just that, getting anywhere between 14-16 wins.