The Buffalo Sabres are once again on the verge of becoming a threat in the Eastern Conference. With new veterans such as Evander Kane to lead exciting prospects such as Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart, the Sabres are shaping up to be a team worth looking at in the Atlantic.
Their biggest question for next season? Goaltending.
The Buffalo Sabres went through five goaltenders last year. FIVE. That’s not the way to win Stanley Cups. With Chad Johnson being the Sabres’ only goaltender headed into the season, Buffalo certainly needs to act, especially since CJ has yet to play a game in a Sabres uniform.
As we’ve previously discussed, the Sabres have quite a bit of depth as far as goaltending prospects go. However, none of these netminders will be coming to the aid of the Sabres this season, so Buffalo will have to be a bit more creative.
Sabres GM Tim Murray says that he has spoken with five teams regarding possible trades for a goaltender, and has made it extremely clear that he’s open for discussion.
“We would love to trade for a goalie.” he said, per wkbw.com, Buffalo. “We would love to trade for a youngish goalie. If that doesn’t work, we would trade for a real good short-term goalie that is older. If we could sign the best or second best free agent goalie, we’d be happy with that, too.”
One option the Sabres should consider is New York Rangers back-up Cam Talbot.
The Case For Talbot
Talbot took the reigns for the eventual-President’s Trophy winning Rangers at the end of the season, when Henrik Lundqvist was sidelined with an injury. While Lundqvist was gone, Cam Talbot took control of the Rangers, and demonstrated outstanding display of goaltending between the pipes for New York. Cam Talbot was so good that some people even debated whether or not they should put King Henrik back in for the playoffs.
In 36 games for the Rangers last season, Talbot earned 21 wins, and posted .926 save percentage and 2.21 goals against average. He also recorded five shutouts, and sat between the pipes for over 2,000 minutes.
With only Chad Johnson under contract, the Sabres should most definitely look into dealing for Cam Talbot. The biggest question for any back-up goaltender is whether their strong stats can be carried over to a starter’s role, where they’ll be facing more time in net. However, Talbot essentially took on the starter’s role for a good portion of last season while Lundqvist was hurt, and proved that he has what it takes to start in goal on a nightly basis.
That being said, Talbot’s phenomenal 2014-2015 campaign may mean that the Sabres would have to give up something rather substantial in return.
How much is Tim Murray willing to give return? There’s no way to tell for sure, but it’s clear that the Sabres GM is eager to make a move for a goaltender, especially before the most attractive options run out.
Cam Talbot may be the answer the the Sabres’ biggest question.
Cam is a Broadcast Journalism student at the University of Maryland. He’s the Boston Bruins Beat Writer at The Hockey Writers, and is an avid college hockey fan. Find him on Twitter @CamHasbrouck!