TSN analyst Darren Dreger shared a bit of interesting information as we get closer to the NHL Draft: apparently the Calgary Flames have made calls about the availability of New York Rangers back-up goaltender Cam Talbot.
Cam Talbot is a hot commodity. Edmtn, Cgy, SJ, Dallas + Florida have expressed interest. Multiple trade offers. First 3 most likely targets.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 18, 2015
The Flames presently have three goaltenders under contract in the entire organization – Jonas Hiller, Joni Ortio and Jon Gillies – and likely want to give themselves some options. Heck, they might also want to cash out on Hiller while the value on his $4.5 million remaining year is still sky-high.
Now, let’s be fair here: Cam Talbot is only slightly less untested than Ortio is. Talbot has played in 59 regular season and playoff NHL games, and only over the past two seasons. (Ortio is at 15 NHL appearances.) But Talbot has put together a pair of NHL stints with even-strength save percentages of .942 and .930, while Ortio hasn’t even come close to those numbers yet. Right now, Cam Talbot is definitely a better goaltender.
Both the 27-year-old Talbot and the 24-year-old Ortio have one year left on their remaining contracts. Ortio will be making $600,000, while Talbot – the superior goalie – makes just $1.45 million. If the Flames can somehow pry him out of the Rangers’ clutches for the right price, Talbot could be the perfect goaltender to lean on while Ortio (or Jon Gillies or Mason McDonald) work on becoming strong NHL goaltenders.
The big question: what would the Rangers want for Cam Talbot?
EDIT: Someone on Twitter asked what the point of adding Talbot would be. The short answer is “adding options.” Here’s a question: is Jon Ortio demonstrably ready to be an NHL starter? Heck no. Is he ready to be an NHL back-up? His AHL numbers say yes, his NHL numbers say probably not. Talbot could be a replacement for Hiller or Karri Ramo, at this point. Adding a second NHL goaltender, though one not as established as Hiller, would be a potential way of lighting a fire under Ortio’s butt and making sure he pulls out all the stops at camp.
But I’m not 100% sure that any of the three goalies Calgary used last season will be here when the puck drops in October.