Rangers believe the Oilers had their sights set on Cam Talbot.
The Rangers signed Cam Talbot to a contract extension this past December because they were certain that Edmonton was going to sign him this summer. According to Elliotte Friedman, “One of the reasons the Rangers signed him when they did was they really were convinced that Edmonton was going to take a run at him this summer. That he was going to be Edmonton’s guy.”
After seeing what Talbot has accomplished in Henrik Lundqvist‘s absence, the Oilers are not the only ones who will have interest. We wrote on March 6th that Talbot was likely going to be someone’s number 1 goalie and that a mid to late first round pick would be a fair return. Now, we are wondering if he could yield more thanks to the law of supply and demand.
Some hockey websites and Rangers’ blogs are just getting around to this story and are speculating as I did weeks ago a first rounder is possible. However, let’s not put the cart before the horse. Who would replace Talbot?
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.
Now let’s look at the return? What would the Rangers want? Lacking a first round pick until 2017 makes that an extremely logical choice and viable option. Still, if the Oilers are dead set on Talbot what would they give up that the Rangers would desire.
First off, forget the notion of the 1st overall pick in the draft if the Oilers get it. Matter of fact, you want them to land Connor McDavid as they may be more willing to part with say, Taylor Hall. Yes, he was rumored in December to be on the block but an injury put that to bed.
Taylor Hall is 23 years old, weighs in at 6’1″ and over 200 pounds. He has size, speed and skill to the the tune of 80 points in 75 games last season. Taylor is also in the 2nd year of a 7 year contract that will pay him 6 million a season. Looking down the road, that contract is a bargain.
Today, Hall’s contract is a concern, especially with the uncertainty of the salary cap ceiling next year. However, the Rangers have Marty St. Louis heading to UFA status along with his 5.625 cap charge. I’m not suggesting the Rangers let him walk, but he may take less to allow for Hall’s hit.
Let’s also be realistic, it wouldn’t be cam Talbot for Taylor Hall even up either. NY would have to part with some other talent to land a bonafide superstar. Carl Hagelin and Chris Kreider are both RFA’s that play the left side (Hagelin 2015 / Kreider 2016). Either one could be used in a package for Hall.
Another cheaper option could be Nail Yakupov. The 21 year old currently comes with a cap hit of 925K and is a RFA this summer. Yakupov has played 3 NHL seasons and has yet to fully realize his offensive potential. The RW has 40 goals and 83 points in 181 NHL games.
Could a package of Talbot and bottom 6 forward get it done? Yakupov being only 21 and a RFA means the Rangers could keep cost down on a potential top 6 forward for years to come.
Still, this is a stretch and there will be other goalie options out there for Edmonton to look at it. The only thing that makes either of these scenarios fly is if the Oilers are settled on Cam Talbot as their goalie of the future.
All interesting speculation in March, but you have to feel that there’s enough smoke to get the water hose ready. Even if nothing comes of it at all with Edmonton, we know one thing for certain. Cam Talbot has played his way into a hot commodity and will give Glen Sather at lot to think about at the draft in June.