In case you missed it yesterday, the New York Rangers extended backup goalie Cam Talbot for an additional year at $1.45 million. That represents more than a 200% increase in salary for the 27-year-old backup. Talbot took over the backup job after Thomas Hertl deked Martin Biron into retirement, posting a 14-9-2 record with a 1.81 GAA, .936 SV%, and 5 shutouts.
The deal came rather unexpectedly, as there weren’t even any rumors that the Rangers were in discussions to extend Talbot. Ninja Sather struck again, and honestly, there’s not much to dislike about this deal.
First things first: The biggest concern most people have had is about the salary. The Rangers will have slightly less than $10 million committed to goaltending, and $1.45 million seems like a lot to commit to a backup netminder. These are certainly concerns, but there aren’t many backups, if any, that give teams a legitimate chance to win during every spot-start. Talbot certainly gives the Rangers that chance to win.
Looking at his comparables on Capgeek, Talbot will make the same as Reto Berra, one of three other true backups above $1.1 million in salary on that list. The others are Chad Johnson (NYI) and Alex Stalock (SJS). Others on that list include starters Darcy Kuemper, Frederik Andersen, and perpetually stuck between starter and backup Eddie Lack. Talbot makes less than all those except Andersen and Lack.
I was having this conversation with Zachary Ellenthal yesterday, but Talbot is almost certainly a top-five backup in the league. He’s not a .936 SV% goalie, that we know. Regression will come for Talbot. But if he’s at a .915 SV%, I’ll take it. The Rangers certainly have enough offensive firepower to manage 20 starts from that. That .915 SV% is what his career numbers in the AHL looked like. But those can be skewed by pretty terrible Hartford teams.
Talbot has been more than a great bargain at his $562k cap hit the past two seasons.
Talbot could have tested free agency, but there’s no guarantee he would get the $1.45 million New York gave him. The goalie market has been incredibly weak over the past few seasons, and Talbot is not a proven starter. In the end, the deal works for both sides, and the Rangers have secured themselves a great 1-2 punch in net, possibly one of the best in the league."Thoughts following the Talbot extension",