Rangers must trade Cam Talbot this summer

Talbot (Getty)

Talbot (Getty)

There have been plenty of rumors about trading Rick Nash and Glen Sather stepping away from his General Manager role. Many pundits are focusing on what the Rangers will do with their free agents. What isn’t being talked about enough is the Rangers need to turn a hot commodity in Cam Talbot into either a 1st pick or a forward.

Back in December, the Rangers extended Talbot by one year. This was done primarily to ensure he would not be quickly whisked away by the Edmonton Oilers or any goalie starved team this summer for nothing. However, the clock started ticking on his value the moment the Rangers were eliminated by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The pressure is on Glen Sather and his heir apparent Jeff Gorton to create a goalie market for his services. Their objective? Secure a mid to late 1st round draft pick or a young forward with some size and scoring ability for next season.

As of today, two teams have apparently expressed interest in Cam Talbot. They are the Edmonton Oilers and the San Jose Sharks.

[su_quote cite=”ESPN” url=”http://espn.go.com/blog/nhl/post/_/id/38109/rumblings-coaching-decisions-and-goalie-moves”]The Sharks and Oilers are going to end up competing for some of the same names. For example, sources say both clubs have also shown interest in Cam Talbot of the New York Rangers. Talbot has another season at $1.45 million on his deal — cheap, cheap, cheap for a guy who showed he could carry the load when Henrik Lundqvist was hurt this season. The Rangers may move Talbot to help alleviate some of their cap logjam. They would be seeking future assets for Talbot.[/su_quote]

Who are these other goalies that both Edmonton and San Jose are looking at? Anaheim’s John Gibson and Vancouver’s Eddie Lack have been brought up in the rumor mill. Both are Western Conference goalies in the Pacific Division. The likelihood that either of them are moved to a division rival is highly unlikely.

Jonathan Bernier in Toronto is also being shopped around as part of the Leafs’ purge. If he is moved, don’t expect the Leafs to give him away. Bernier is still well regarded by management and they may keep him unless a deal is too good to refuse.

The real threat to the Rangers securing an excellent return for Cam Talbot comes from the Ottawa Senators. They appear to be willing to move either Robin Lehner and/or Craig Anderson. While the latter is getting long in the tooth, Lehner could be just what the doctor ordered.

Lehner is 23 years of age and an extremely promising young goalie. According to the Ottawa Sun, 7 teams have expressed interest in their goaltenders. What does Ottawa want? A top 6 forward. If the Senators believe that any of their goalies, even Andrew Hammond who has been discussed is worth that, then the Rangers are in even better shape.

Cam  Talbot Adam Hunger / USA TODAY Sports

Cam Talbot Adam Hunger / USA TODAY Sports

Cam Talbot is 27 years old and this year proved beyond the shadow of a doubt, he is capable of being a #1 goalie. He is also under contract to start the season at a very attractive 1.45M cap hit. His numbers last season speak for itself, 21-9-4 with a 2.21 GAA and a .926 SV%. Plus the scouting report on him says he is poised under pressure. Is there anything else you would want in an NHL starter? Talbot seems to have all the tools.

What the Rangers need to do now is get a few other teams involved and raise the stakes. At this point, there is no secret the Edmonton Oilers want Talbot as their #1 goalie. Just having one other team in San Jose doesn’t really give the Rangers more leverage. If there is no market for him, Edmonton has no reason to even consider parting with their second 1st round selection (16th overall) in this year’s draft.

Rangers should look to see what the Buffalo Sabres may be willing to do. They have Evander Kane in the fold and will soon be adding “can’t miss prospect”, Jack Eichel to the mix. The addition of a quality goalie like Talbot could not only sell more tickets but add a real chance to make the playoffs.

How about the Arizona Coyotes? Yes, they have Mike Smith under contract to the tune of 5.6M a season until he turns 37, but bringing in Cam Talbot might make sense. The Yotes are rebuilding and want to do it with Max Domi and Anthony Duclair. By the time they are ready to compete, Mike Smith will be way past his prime. Talbot could be their longterm answer as they work to move Smith at the next trade deadline.

Bottom line, if the Rangers want a first round pick they need to create more demand for Talbot. They may also need to send another player Edmonton’s way. A stay-at-home defenseman like Kevin Klein could be used to make the deal happen. That package could return not only the #16 pick but Ben Scrivens to back up Henrik Lundqvist.

Many believe the Rangers will be lucky to get a second rounder for Cam Talbot. Some feel that if they can’t get at least that much it isn’t worth trading him at all. I disagree with both sentiments.

Talbot proved he can play this season and has shown that his numbers are no fluke with over 50 NHL games to his credit. The Rangers recognize this and will stress that in discussions. Keeping him this season is NOT an option. It makes no sense to lose him for nothing next summer.

The time is now for the Rangers to help build his value and generate more demand for Talbot. When that is done, the Rangers could very well be picking 16th overall at the NHL draft later this month.