On the eve of free agency, the Minnesota Wild have traded goaltender Cam Talbot to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for fellow netminder Filip Gustavsson. This comes after both teams executed transactions with their goaltenders with the former re-signing veteran Marc-Andre Fleury to a two-year deal and the latter dealing former starter Matt Murray to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Talbot is on the final year of a three-year pact he signed with the Wild in 2020 and will be making $3,666,667 average annual value (AAV) in 2022-23. Next offseason, he will enter the market as an unrestricted free agent. Gustavsson, on the other hand, is only going to cost the Wild $787,500 after which he will become a restricted free agent still under team control. He is also only 24 years old while Talbot is 35.
Talbot Returns to the Starting Role in Ottawa
After Fleury was re-signed, NHL insider Eliotte Friedman reported that Talbot was unhappy with the proposed 1A/1B arrangement going into the 2022-23 season. So, general manager Bill Guerin decided to trade him to the Senators to avoid any drama in the dressing room. It was also reported by Pierre LeBrun that Talbot enjoyed his time with the Wild and was happy going to the Sens, so it looks like both sides parted amicably.
Related: 2022 NHL Free Agent Tracker
Talbot will now split the net with 29-year-old Anton Forsberg, who performed well last season finishing with a 2.82 goals-against average (GAA) and .917 save percentage (SV%) in 46 appearances. He also had a winning record of 22-17-4. However, the situation will be much different in Ottawa as Talbot will likely go back to being the starter instead of playing in the shadow of a future Hall-of-Famer in Fleury.
After one forgettable season in Calgary, Talbot re-established himself as a solid starter in Minnesota, so it’s understandable that he wants to go back to being the man in the crease. He will definitely get that with the Senators as Forsberg is still a relative unknown. He brings nine years of NHL experience along with some recent success during the past two seasons as he posted a record of 51-20-9 along with a 2.71 GAA, .913 SV% and five shutouts. With him in the fold, Pierre Dorion has seemingly transformed his goaltending from a weakness to a strength almost overnight.
Wild Going With Fleury as the Starter in 2022-23
After being acquired at the trade deadline from the Chicago Blackhawks, Fleury finished the season strong with the Wild. He ended up starting 11 games and only lost two of them, closing out the campaign with a 9-2 record along with a 2.74 GAA and .910 SV%. The playoffs didn’t go well for the three-time Stanley Cup winner, but clearly, Guerin saw enough from the 37-year-old to commit to him for two more seasons as his starter.
Now without Talbot as his 1B, Fleury will go back to being the de facto number-one. While Gustavsson will probably provide good support as his backup, he has not proven himself to be a reliable one just yet. In 18 appearances last season, he only had five wins and a mediocre 3.55 GAA and .892 SV%. Although, that wasn’t behind a good defence – which he will definitely get in Minnesota. With the trade, Guerin also gained a bit of cap space to spend in the free-agent market which begins at high noon tomorrow (July 13).
Matthew Zator is a THW freelance writer, media editor, and scout who lives and breathes Vancouver Canucks hockey, the NHL Draft, and prospects in general. He loves talking about young players and their potential. Matthew is a must-read for Canucks fans and fans of the NHL Draft and its prospects. For interview requests or content information, you can follow Matthew through his social media accounts which are listed under his photo at the conclusion of articles like this one about Tyler Motte.