Cam Talbot, who spent last season with the Calgary Flames, has signed a three-year deal with the Minnesota Wild worth $11 million – a $3.67 million cap hit.
Before manning the crease for the Flames in the Edmonton bubble, Talbot got his start in the league as Henrik Lundqvist’s understudy with the New York Rangers. As one of the top backups in the league, he gathered plenty of interest around the league. He was eventually sent to the Edmonton Oilers, where he spent three and a half seasons, mostly as their top option in net.
During the 2016-17 seasons with the Oilers, Talbot played in a whopping 73 games, winning 42 of them. He finished fourth in voting for the Vezina Trophy that year and helped lead the Oilers to within one win of the Western Conference Final. Since then, his results have been a mixed bag, including during his brief stint with the Philadelphia Flyers. Since then, he seemed to resuscitate his career this past season with the Flames.
The 33-year-old has 150 wins through 314 regular-season games in the NHL. With a career save percentage (SV%) of .915%, Talbot is a goalie that should be able to deliver solid goaltending while in a semi-limited role. He spent this past season as the 1B option with the Flames, but by season’s end, he had claimed the starting role for himself. He could very well do it again this season with the Wild.
Wild’s Goaltending Situation
After trading longtime starter Devan Dubnyk to the San Jose Sharks, the Wild add Talbot to a crease that was occupied by Alex Stalock in the Edmonton bubble. Despite a solid effort by Stalock, Talbot adds experience that was lost when general manager Bill Guerin moved on from Dubnyk.
At the very least, Talbot provides a 1A/1B option with Stalock, though the intention seems to be that the new guy will get a real shot at becoming the unquestioned starter in Minnesota. Given his performance with the Flames during the playoffs (five wins, .924 SV%) he should be an upgrade in net after Dubnyk lost his starting gig this past season.
With a three-year term and a reasonable cap hit, Talbot could become a great value for the Wild if he plays with the consistency he has shown in the past. Realistically, he could partner with another goalie and form a reliable tandem for the Wild as he enters the twilight of his career.
The move leaves the Wild with a little over $4.8 million in cap space available. They have one notable restricted free agent (Jordan Greenway) left to sign. Guerin may look to modify his roster further, though any move would either bring minimal salary in or move salary out.
Regardless of their next move, the decision to sign Talbot grants the Wild some security in the crease at a reasonable price. How much security is ultimately up to Talbot and his play over the next three seasons. He becomes just the eighth player on their books that is signed past the 2021-22 season.
The move also gives the Wild options for the impending Seattle Kraken expansion draft next summer. Either Stalock or Talbot can be exposed as both are signed past the 2020-21 season. Should he not work out with the Wild, this could be the avenue they explore to rid themselves of their new netminder.
Of course, the preferred outcome is that the Wild just signed the Talbot that played in the bubble, not the one that lost his starting gig with the Oilers. After a couple of seasons of mediocre goaltending and not much cap space to work with, Guerin found a good candidate to take a chance with.
Now it’s up to Talbot to prove him right.