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So, what about Cam Talbot?

Scott Levy/Getty Images

Scott Levy/Getty Images

Now that all the hemming and hawing over Henrik Lundqvist’s contract situation has been completed, Cam Talbot’s future has been an oft-discussed topic.  Whatever you may think about the specific details of the contract, Hank is going to be manning the pipes at the Garden until 2020-2021.

This brings us back to Talbot.  His emergence this season as a viable NHL goaltender have prompted quite a few fans to jump to conclusions about his long-term future in the Rangers organization and his potential trade value and contract status.  Just to get the facts out of the way, Talbot is under contract for this season and next at a very reasonable $562,000 cap hit.  As Dave pointed out in his fantastic analysis of Hank’s contract, the discount between Marty Biron’s salary and Talbot’s hedge quite a bit of the raise that Hank received in the context of overall goaltending cost.

After next season, because of his age, Talbot will be eligible for Unrestricted Free Agency.  Generally speaking, when a player makes his NHL debut, there are usually several cost controlled years at the team’s disposal, either through the ELC or RFA status.  Because goalies are more often than not, late bloomers, the Rangers don’t have this luxury with Talbot.

Getting a firm read on Talbot’s future value is very tricky at this juncture, because, well, he’s played 8 (!) NHL games.  His numbers have been fantastic and he has made tangible steps in adjusting his game to the highest level.  However, how many teams out there do you think would be willing to give him a 3 or 4 year deal north of $2.5 million per year?

This is where the calculus gets even more difficult, because what is his trade value in the alternative?  How many GM’s are rushing to maximize the Rangers’ unproven asset?  What are other teams’ long-term assessment of his ability?  Is he a starter, a platoon or a true backup?  All of this information is currently anyone’s guess.

The Rangers’ could take a stab at extending him for an extra year or two on the cheap(ish) to give themselves a little more flexibility with the backup position, promising Talbot 20-25 starts a season to keep their newly wrapped Christmas gift healthy for the duration of his deal.  Or, they could take it year to year and see how he continues to develop and risk market rates after next season.

Many will say “if you’re not going to sign him beyond next season, then we need to trade him”.  This is an understandable position, but we are talking about an asset with serious valuation issues.  Some scout for a Western Conference team might look at him and think he’s the next Miikka Kiprusoff.  Another one might think he’s no better than AHL depth.  It’s really a moving target.

In my humble opinion, the earliest this situation really needs to be assessed is in the off-season.  By then, Talbot will have a better idea of how he feels about playing backup to one of the league’s premier workhorses.  The organization will have the opportunity to evaluated his game further, both for possible trades and possible extensions.  As of right now, though, we have the luxury of a capable backup for Hank, and keeping him healthy, effective and well-rested is the most important thing right now.  Talbot’s situation will work itself out when the time comes.

16 Responses to “So, what about Cam Talbot?”

  1. Ray V says:

    I am just happy we have an excellent back up.

  2. Dave says:

    If Talbot settles in at the level of good NHL backup (.910 SV%), then I’d give him $1m a year to be the backup.

    • @Centerman21 says:

      Dave, I’d think that’s the best thing to do with him. As long as he gives the Rangers a chance to win on nights he starts. What more can you ask for from the Kings backup and at his current cap hit along with the Rangers depth at the position or lack thereof. Talbot is a must have right now. I think his contract becomes a 1 way deal next season so they have to be sure of him. I think The main thing is how cheap he is right now and how expensive Hank is and how Talbot balances overall Cap % spent on keepers. A capable backup in free agency will cost 1 – 1.5 mil. Right now just keep playing him and see what he did after a good 15-20 starts.

  3. Rangers Fan in Boston says:

    Long story short, it’s about maximizing value. Is he more valuable as a cheap, quality backup for 1.5 seasons, or as trade fodder to strengthen a team weakness? We don’t know that answer right now, but if some GM comes calling with an exceptional offer, you pull the trigger.

    • Jackson Raney says:

      An exceptional offer would have to include a goalie coming back, right? Not having a capable backup is a risky proposition.

      • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

        Not necessarily. An offseason trade provides the Rangers time to address the backup situation.

    • @Centerman21 says:

      What do we do for a backup then if Talbot is traded? Pay Justin Peters 1.5 mil for a 3 GAA and .897 S%. A team will really have to overpay for Talbot if that kind of offer comes to Sathers desk.

  4. Chris F says:

    Rangers just traded Mashinter to CHI for LW Kyle Beach (6′ 3″ 203 lbs, shoots right).

    • @Centerman21 says:

      I saw he was a LW. Is he really a righty? That’s awesome. This kid could be Chi version of McIlrath. High pick used on an imposing figure instead of an offensively skilled forward. Slow to develop into an NHL player.

  5. Spozo says:

    They shoulda traded Hank before the contract extension and try and win a cup on the back of this kid with 8 games of NHL experience. Blah blah blah

  6. Walt says:

    Cam Talbot is a good back up, and after this season ends, we look at his results, and pay him accordingly. He probably should get the same as Marty Biron got, and if he proves to be worth more than that after the next contract expires, we give him a second raise. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves!!!

  7. Chuck A says:

    Let’s see if some GM will panic at the trade deadline and overpay for Cam’s services.
    Otherwise, until June…

    • Tim B says:

      If Talbot is traded this season than who the is the backup? Missaien cant even stay consistent at the AHL level. They would have to sign someone out of free agency or make a teade for a backup. Doubt he will be traded this season.

  8. Mundo says:

    I’m just happy I don’t have to change my cats name from Lundqvist to Talbot