Stephen Valiquette believes Cam Talbot is heading to Edmonton this summer
Stephen Valiquette believes Cam Talbot is a starting goaltender in the National Hockey League. When he looks at the goaltending landscape this summer, he thinks the Edmonton Oilers will be the team to come calling for the “Goalbuster”.
When I chatted with Steve to discuss goalie metrics, we also talked a little about the Rangers goaltending future. Back in March, Steve discussed Cam Talbot’s potential summer destination on MSG’s Hockey Night Live and the possibility of landing in Edmonton.
In our conversation, I asked Steve to build on that. “Ive been around the NYR organization for about 10 years,” he began. “During that time after Don Maloney left the organization and went to Arizona, all of our trades have mostly been with Edmonton, Arizona and Columbus”
“First, I go with past history and I know the relationship Glen (Sather) has with Edmonton,” Valiquette said. “I also know that Edmonton has a group of forwards that are highly coveted, all the same age and play the same way. They have too many guys that play the same style. That’s why it makes sense that Jordan Eberle is likely to go.”
The move seems logical for both sides the more I thought about it. New York lacks depth at center and Edmonton needs goaltending. Of course, Eberle is considered one of the game’s better players while Cam is just establishing himself as a potential elite goalie.
Looking to clarify the potential deal, I asked Steve if he thought it was possible as a one for one. “I like the fit, is it going to be Cam Talbot for Jordan Eberle? I don’t think that’s possible, I think Eberle brings back more in return and NY is going to have to put something more on the table. It wouldn’t have to be huge, but I think it could get them back Ben Scrivens in return.”
Of course, who the other Ranger player in the deal might be is unclear today. Obtaining Scrivens however, would certainly close the hole of Talbot’s departure. “I know that Scrivens would be an awesome backup to Henrik Lundqvist,” Steve said. “I don’t think Henrik who is a self starter benefits from any notion of a goalie controversy. Even with the distraction of contract negotiations it didn’t go well for him both times he went through it.”
That mental aspect could be another reason for the Rangers to move Talbot. However, from an organizational standpoint, Talbot only has one year left on his contract and will be an unrestricted free agent next summer. Trying to move him as a rental come trade deadline would not be tantalizing to most teams to yield a fair return. For that reason alone, this summer would be the time to deal Talbot as his value will never be higher.
Still, Steve believes that Cam may not be the primary target. “The Oilers are looking for a goalie badly, I think they are going to want to pick up Jonathan Bernier if he’s available. He would probably be their first choice,” Steve revealed.
“If it is Bernier that gets moved, and I don’t think Toronto should move him but for whatever reason, they seem fed up and want to clean everybody out and start over, that would be a great move for Toronto. To get Eberle for Bernier in a package that works for both makes sense.”
Valiquette has looked at the free agent pool for goaltenders and says, “it doesn’t look great”. He also added, “I think Cam is probably slotted at number 2 if it is Bernier moving. Of the top free agent available, I’d take Cam over Antti Niemi too.”
When I asked about Devan Dubnyk, Steve put that one to bed immediately. “He’s going to re-sign with Minnesota. If he doesn’t I’ll be shocked!”
As we began to wrap up our discussion and how impressive Cam’s play has been this season, Steve couldn’t help but give credit to the “Master Yoda of goalie coaches” as he called him, Benoit Allaire.
“Benoit Allaire is such a good coach. He’s 1 or 2 of the top goalie coaches in the world,” Steve said in admiration. “You get to see issues with a master guru for 10-30 minutes after every game. That’s why Talbot’s last 10 were better than his first 10.” This was in reference to his run as the Rangers starter when Lundqvist went down.
“He fixed every little tendency coming off the puck,” Valiquette said of Allaire working with Talbot. “You’re sitting there with Master Yoda, what do you think is gonna happen? Benoit gets in your head.”
“When you know the master is watching you, you’re putting your best stuff out there and making the adjustments you discussed because afterwards, nothing feels better than when Benny comes up and looks you in the eye and says ‘great job’, you just feel like you’re on top of the world because the goalie master is giving you faith.”