It’s unquestionable. Cam Talbot, backup goalie for the New York Rangers, has become one of the most talked about twine tenders in the entire NHL, and for good reason. In Henrik Lundqvist‘s absence since early February, the Caledonia, Ontario native has managed a record of 15-5-3 along with an outstanding .927% save percentage and 2.22 goals against average.
With Talbot, the Rangers have defeated even their strongest of competitors with 6-5 and 2-1 wins over the New York Islanders for instance. The Goal Buster’s most impressive performance, however, had to be up against the Anaheim Ducks which resulted in an unbelievable win for the Rangers. Head coach Alain Vigneault praised Talbot for that game according to Andrew Gross.
Additionally, Talbot has posted two shutouts including one in a contest with the Chicago Blackhawks in their home arena: a feat that hasn’t been done since 1966, back when hall-of-famer Eddie Giacomin was still in net.
While the fans are more than happy to see a fitting heir to the King’s thrown, General Manager Glen Sather may be seeing an entirely different future for Talbot.
It’s now or never, go big or go home – probably Slats…every Spring
Sather is infamous for questionable decisions and going all out at the trade deadline, this year being no different. In a blockbuster trade, one of New York’s top prospects, Anthony Duclair, was packaged into a deal with the Arizona Coyotes. A lot of controversy surrounded the trade, especially in the decision to send off Duclair who caught a lot of attention during the pre-season and World Juniors. Nevertheless, the trade brought in highly valuable defenseman, Keith Yandle, who is expected to be a huge support towards the Rangers’ next run for the Cup.
Talbot signed a contract extension this past December for $1.45 million, keeping him in New York through the 2015-16 season. His contract will be up after that and a very important decision will have to be made on what to do with the Goal Buster.
It seems like it would be an easy decision to keep Talbot in the fold for a long time, seeing how well he’s done in New York. He has proven himself to be phenomenal in the Rangers crease, has shown relative consistency, is calm under high pressure and his ability will only continue to grow. But given Slats’ tendencies to cash in on big buzz, we may be seeing Talbot in a jersey other than a Blueshirt as soon as next year.
It’s definitely not something I would want. Watching Cam lead the team to the number one spot in the league has earned him a special place in a lot of fans’ hearts, including my own. Nevertheless, hockey is often about business, and there’s a strong possibility Talbot could be gone after next season because of it.
Another thought Sather could be thinking is the detail of age, and not just his own. Lundqvist is 33 years old. Talbot isn’t too far behind at 27 – just six years younger. When the time comes that the King retires (as unimaginable as that may be, but hopefully from old age) Talbot will be inching towards retirement himself. Is it worth keeping a highly talented goaltender such as Talbot as a backup for most of his career? Or do you trade him for a forward or defenseman who could be a quality addition on the ice right now alongside Lundqvist? It’s something to think about.
Who or what Sather would use Talbot as a trade token for is still too early to make a really good guesstimate, but whoever or whatever could be involved would have to be huge for what Talbot is worth.