Talbot has produced at probably an unsustainable level. With just one season separating the 26-year-old from unrestricted free agency, you have to assume Talbot is eyeing a chance to compete for a starting job. Recouping some value by dealing a blossoming netminder still in his prime years for a draft pick seemed like it could be sensible since Talbot would never be able to assume the crown in New York.
However, the reasons in favor of keeping Talbot keep adding up.
Talbot’s cap hit is a minuscule $562,500 next season. The $300k difference between that number and what the Blueshirts would have to pay a veteran replacement shouldn’t be discounted. The team is likely hoping to bring in an impact center this summer in an inflated market, and every dollar saved goes a long way toward Paul Stastny (the preferred target around these parts).
And unfortunately, though he’s been better lately for the most part, Lundqvist still hasn’t been on top of his game. Meanwhile “The Prince” has been very useful as a backup with 11 wins in 16 starts and sparkling ratios of 1.75 GAA and a .938 SV%. Talbot won’t take Lundqvist’s job, but he could be pretty good insurance for another year, when Lundqvist will be turning 33.
We also got a firsthand look at the goalie market during the flurry of activity involving netminders surrounding last week’s trade deadline. In all, 12 netminders changed teams, but most moved in goalie for goalie swaps and only Reto Berra drew a second-round pick from the clueless Avalanche.
The trade value of a backup goaltender is very low and Talbot just doesn’t have the track record to be worthy of much more than a third- or fourth-round pick. Though even a fourth might tempt the pick-starved Blueshirts – especially after they nailed three third rounders last June – it’s still not much.
Talbot’s future may not lie in New York, but having a backup that seems to have the hang of things here for another season certainly seems like it’d be worth a mid-round draft choice.
Though the possibility of trading Talbot is coming up sooner than it did for Callahan, the main debate is the same one the Blueshirts just faced with their former captain. That time, rather than losing Callahan for nothing, the Rangers chose to deal one of their most important players well before he became a free agent. Of course, Callahan fetched Martin St. Louis…