First and foremost, take a deep breath because there is absolutely no goalie controversy for the New York Rangers. However, it is interesting that head coach Alain Vigneault has chosen to start backup goalie Cam Talbot over Henrik Lundqvist for the second game in a row tonight against the Winnipeg Jets.
Let’s be realistic, at this very moment Talbot is playing extremely better than Lundqvist. Talbot has a 1.49 GAA and a .944 save percentage compared to Lundqvist’s 2.51 GAA and .917 save percentage. Talbot is playing very well at the moment and coach Vigneault is presumably just playing the hot goaltender. There are a few things to take into account with this decision,the Olympics are coming up this February and Lundqvist will again be the starting goaltender for team Sweden, also to take into account that Vigneault is probably planning on making the playoffs this season, in which Lundqvist will need to be well rested and ready to go to make a deep run if they want to be contenders. The final thing to consider is that the Rangers schedule this week is back heavy and with the New Jersey Devils on Saturday and the Washington Capitals on Sunday, Vigneault most likely plans to start Lundqvist both of those games.
If you are still not convinced that there is not a controversy, then maybe this next part will help that out. It’s true that Lundqvist has not been playing as well as he has in recent years, but he’s admittedly going through a slump. He even said in the morning skate today that he was disappointed he wasn’t playing but supports Vigneault’s decision and knows he has to get better. Lundqvist has been the number one goalie in New York for the better part of a decade and while I personally have given reasons why he could be traded it is NOT because Talbot is going to replace him. Lundqvist will eventually come out of his slump and come back with guns blazing.