Flames Have Faith in Talbot’s Comeback Season

The Calgary Flames made some modest yet impactful moves thus far since free agency opened on July 1. One of the pressing matters that Flames general manager Brad Treliving tackled early on was the club’s longstanding goaltending situation.

In search of a goalie that was both affordable and reliable, Treliving extended an offer to former Edmonton Oilers netminder Cam Talbot. Following the call from Calgary, the 31-year-old unrestricted free agent has signed a one-year deal with the Flames worth $2.75 million.

In the early phase of NHL free agency, Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving immediately tackled Calgary’s goaltending vacancy with the signing of unrestricted free agent Cam Talbot (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)

With the acquisition of Talbot, Calgary has gained a goalie that has been strong and consistent for the majority of his young career. At the same time, however, Talbot’s most recent season has been his worst to date. Due to the latter development, Treliving’s new signing has been deemed by some as a liability.

An Overall Optimistic Track Record

In spite of his truly disastrous 2018-19 season (which we will talk about later), Talbot has accrued an all-in-all impressive career record thus far.

Counting the statistical hit from his most recent slump, according to Pat Steinberg, Talbot still “boasts a .915 career save percentage.” This already respectable number improves to .918 if the last season is removed from the calculation.

As a star goalie, Talbot also brings with him a list of other accomplishments to the table, having helped lead the Oilers to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2016-17, and in the same time frame, recorded 42 regular season wins in an astounding 73 starts.

Edmonton Oilers goalie Cam Talbot
Cam Talbot started 73 games for the Oilers in 2016-17 with Vezina-type numbers. (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

Moreover, Talbot has made contributions on the international stage, helping Canada attain a gold medal at the 2016 IIHF World Championship in Russia, doing so with a 1.25 goals-average (GAA) and four shutouts. All things considered, Talbot has proven that he has what it takes to be a dependable goaltender.

Talbot’s Fall From Grace and Comeback Hopes

It was a tumultuous downward spiral for Talbot throughout the 2018-19 campaign. The once-reputed goalie saw his numbers plummet to new depths not yet seen in his career. His woes would be best encapsulated by an untimely trade from one struggling club, the Oilers, to another netminding nightmare, the Philadelphia Flyers.

Talbot’s troubles began in 2017-18, when his GAA jumped to 3.02 from 2.39 in just the previous season. These numbers would swell in his most recent campaign, as the struggling goaltender accumulated a 3.36 GAA with Edmonton, before crashing to 3.70 in his brief stint with Philly.

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Former Philadelphia Flyers goaltender and recent Calgary Flames acquisition Cam Talbot (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

While admitting that the preceding season was his “worst year as a professional,” Talbot has expressed his drive to get back on track and return to his winning self. Saying that he has “a lot to prove,” Talbot proclaimed his unwavering preparation for training camp, and has dubbed this upcoming 2019-20 season with the Flames as his “redemption year.”

Flames Believe in Talbot

On top of his dedication and hunger for resurgence, the netminder has Treliving and the entire Flames organization behind him on his road to redemption. Moreover, unlike the Oilers and Flyers, two defensively depleted teams, Talbot will, in playing for Calgary, be a part of one of the strongest defensive clubs in the NHL, led by reigning Norris Trophy winner and team captain Mark Giordano.

As far as Talbot is concerned, he cannot be more excited to join the Flames. Expressing acclaim for Giordano and the defensive corps, Talbot also showed enthusiasm for the entire Flames squad. “When you look at the group and what they were able to accomplish this year…it’s an appealing spot for any goaltender to want to play,” Talbot explained. He would add that, “it’s a very deep team and I’m looking forward to being a part of it.”

Cam Talbot
Despite his recent difficulties, goalie Cam Talbot has the full support of Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving and the Flames organization, who are well aware of his capabilities and list of accomplishments (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, LM Otero)

All things considered, while there may be some reasons to be nervous about the Flames signing Talbot, there is also much cause for optimism. Talbot has struggled as of late, but he is a proven goaltender with very real credentials and accomplishments to his name.

With his contract signed, Talbot will be joining breakout goalie David Rittich in net, as part of Calgary’s new tandem goaltending arrangement. New surroundings, new teammates, and a new outlook may be just what Talbot needs to get his career back on track, and possibly even rising to new heights.