There’s going to be a big game of musical chairs going down among goaltenders in the NHL this summer. There are a whole bunch of middling, 1B goalie types set to hit the open market and a bunch of teams who need the second half of a tandem.
The Oilers and Flames are two of those teams. Edmonton, of course, inked Mikko Koskinen to a three-year deal but, given his lack of experience, the team needs another guy who can carry a fairly significant load. David Rittich appears to be the guy in Calgary and the team looks ready to move on from veteran Mike Smith.
Enter Cam Talbot. The Oilers ultimately decided that Koskinen was their guy, signed him to that aforementioned extension, and dealt Talbot away at the trade deadline mostly as a salary cap dump. According to Frank Seravalli, Talbot is now gaining interest from the Flames to become their 1B goalie in Smith’s old role.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) June 25, 2019
Talbot spent three-and-a-half seasons in Edmonton. He was originally acquired from the New York Rangers where he was trapped behind future Hall of Famer Henrik Lundqvist. In his first season here, Talbot posted a .917 save percentage splitting the net with Anders Nilsson. The following year, he was incredible, posting a .919 save percentage over a whopping 73 games to help the Oilers make the playoffs. Talbot’s next two seasons were rough and he ended up falling out of favour as the team’s starting goalie.
He also didn’t get much of a chance to rebuild his value after being traded to Philadelphia prior to the trade deadline. Talbot got into just four games with the Flyers, posting an .881 save percentage. If the Flames were to sign Talbot, the strategy would be buying low on a goalie with upside and hoping he rebounds on a stronger team than the one he struggled with the past two seasons.
The thought process from the Flames side is likely that Talbot would be an inexpensive short-term signing with a lot of upside, and that his struggles were more a product of Edmonton’s shaky defensive system than his talent level. Talbot’s camp likely sees Calgary’s strong defensive group, led by the reigning Norris Trophy winner, and figures a season playing behind them will rehabilitate his career.
I’m getting a little nervous that the Oilers and Flames do a swap and we see Talbot in Calgary and Smith in Edmonton. Hopefully, I’m wrong!
Jokes aside, I wouldn’t be bothered to see Talbot play for the Flames. He and his family seemed happy living here and playing for the Flames would offer them a chance to come back to Alberta.