119Cam Talbot
Photo Credit: Eric Hartline/USA Today Sports

Reward outweighs the risk in signing Cam Talbot

“To be honest, I have a lot to prove.”

If you’re a Calgary Flames fan, those are the words you wanted to hear from newly signed Cam Talbot. Coming off the worst year of his career, Calgary is banking on Talbot returning to career norms as he partners David Rittich this season. While a bounce back is anything but guaranteed, Talbot’s body of work suggests last season was a misnomer. That’s why a one-year, $2.75 million deal is well worth the risk.

The body of work

Prior to last season, Talbot’s career was the picture of consistency. Even with a tough year split between Edmonton and Philadelphia, Talbot boasts a 0.915 career save percentage; it’s at 0.918 if you take last season out of the picture.

Season Team GP SV%
2013-14 NY Rangers 21 0.941
2014-15 NY Rangers 36 0.926
2015-16 Edmonton 56 0.917
2016-17 Edmonton 73 0.919
2017-18 Edmonton 67 0.908
2018-19 EDM/PHI 35 0.892

When you put up numbers like above for five straight years, having a season go off the rails like 2018-19 did is a shock to the system. Now it’s on Talbot to ensure he uses a difficult campaign as motivation, which seems to be how he’s approaching things with the Flames.

“Last year was my worst year as a professional and it’s something I don’t take lightly,” Talbot said Monday. “I’ve been back in the gym and working hard for a long time now already, I didn’t take too long off. I want to make sure that something like that doesn’t happen again. (It’s) kind of a redemption year for myself personally and professionally.

“I’m not going to lie it was obviously extremely frustrating to come off of five pretty consistent seasons in an extremely tough league; those are tough to string together. To have a season like that…it can weigh on you a little bit. I’m working that much harder this year and coming into camp more prepared than I ever have.”

Not everyone loves this signing, but I think Talbot’s career affords him some benefit of the doubt. Last season was Talbot’s first truly bad season after five consecutive solid ones. I’ll go as far to say he deserved to be a finalist for the Vezina Trophy in 2017, even though he finished just on the outside. Yes, I know he played for the Oilers and this is Flames site, but he posted a 0.919 over 73 starts! Connor McDavid or not, Edmonton doesn’t hit 100 points without Talbot’s Herculean work a few seasons ago.

The following year, his final full season in Edmonton, Talbot struggled out of the gates before finding his form in the second half. Talbot was down at 0.902 over his first 34 starts in 2017-18; he finished at 0.913 in the final 33, which is much closer to career averages. As such, it’s fair to say Talbot has just one poor full season to his name, and that’s his most recent.

Bouncing back

Even the NHL’s best goaltenders have a down season here and there. There might not be a more volatile position in professional sports, which is why a larger sample size is always a better tool in evaluating. Buying too much into one season is dangerous, good or bad, and the Flames seem to be on board with that line of thinking.

“We studied a lot of Cam’s film and games a couple years ago when he had a good year, and looking at it this year,” general manager Brad Treliving said Monday. “When you have a body of work in the league and you have an up year or a down year, most times things always regress to the mean. This is a guy who’s been…a darn good goalie on his team for a long time.”

To illustrate the point, I plucked a few goaltenders to show variance over a span of three or four years. It seems no goalies are immune to a down season. What’s more telling, however, is how these guys have responded to a frustrating campaign.

Jonathan Quick Robin Lehner Carey Price
Season GP SV% Season GP SV% Season GP SV%
2011-12 69 0.929 2015-16 21 0.924 2015-16 12 0.934
2012-13 37 0.902 2016-17 59 0.920 2016-17 62 0.923
2013-14 49 0.915 2017-18 53 0.908 2017-18 49 0.900
2014-15 72 0.918 2018-19 46 0.930 2018-19 66 0.918

I’m not comparing Talbot to the goaltenders above as much as I’m attempting to illustrate a trend. More often than not, posting consistently strong NHL numbers is indicative of being, well, good. Talbot’s numbers were extremely consistent over a long stretch prior to last season, which is why optimism is high for a positive response.

Of course, all goaltending conversations come with the same disclaimer: this is not a perfect science, or anything close to it. In fact, I lean far more towards voodoo or witchcraft than science, which is why predicting the future can be a fool’s errand. All we can do is look at a body of work and make an educated guess, which is what the Flames are doing here.

Talbot’s difficult 2018-19 could very well be the start of a downward trend; he wouldn’t be the first goalie to drop off in his early 30s. On the other hand, there’s plenty to suggest last season was just a blip on the radar for one of the league’s most consistent over the last half-decade. That’s why Calgary’s potential reward in signing Talbot on a one-year deal outweighs the risk.

  • Albertabeef

    Talbot has a bad season we wasted 2.75mil
    Talbot has an awesome season he leaves next year cause we won’t be paying him 6+mil.

    Either way it’s a bad signing.

      • Albertabeef

        Even if the internal competition makes him better he will not be with the Flames next season. If he has a great season he will test the open market hoping for a big pay off. That just puts it at a 90-95% chance his is only here one season regardless of how he plays.

  • Flint

    Allow me a rebuttal.

    1. For goalies to reclaim their game, any goalie worth their salt will tell you they need to play, and play a lot. So what is Cam’s role? I thought it was backup.
    2. It’s the double risk taking… We’re already taking a risk with Rittich. He’s not an established starting goalie, not even close. What we needed, and didn’t have last year either, was stability in the backup….. not more risk. RIttich falters and Cam doesn’t have a rebirth, we could miss the playoffs.

    3. The Flames are in a position to find those last key ‘to-the-next-level-pros’. The guys who do all the little things right, who can move through the lineup, who gel teams, who bring in championships. Who lift the guys we have UP. We don’t need annual reclamation/prove-it pros. Brouwer, Neal, Jagr, Versteeg*, Talbot, etc. These are all big risk, hope for reward, one-dimensional players (all goalies are one-dimensional) who, if they can’t still do ‘their thing’ are useless. They’re more trouble and more money than they are worth. And they inevitably drag our other guys DOWN.
    *Versteeg wasn’t so bad.

    • Derzie

      I’d like to hear some rebuttals from those of you who trashed this. Flint bringing some solid points here. From my perspective, we have a tandem that may not be good enough to make the playoffs. We definitely do not have a starter, which is what we need. Also, a lot of good players changed teams yesterday. Although, Simmonds getting $5M is comically bad.
      We’ve now been snubbed by Zucker & Kadri, 2 players that we can use. Tre’s reputation is catching up with him. A cheapskate who only pays for nostalgia.

      • cberg

        We now have 2 starters, as Rittich proved himself last year and Talbot has been that for many years. Anyone can cherry pick a period of play to make a point but looking overall this seems like a very reasonable tandem in the making.

        Agree on Simmonds, as everything points the other way. As for Zucker & Kadri it is interesting. We don’t have the details but it makes you wonder. Could be lots of things, like stars, goalies, travel, weather, taxes and etc. BT’s reputation is likely not a factor because both Zucker and Kadri already signed for another 3 years.

    • Albertabeef

      “(all goalies are one-dimensional)” I disagree, but the average ones are. Puck playing goalies add a dimension to their game. I always love seeing a goalie score on an empty net.(However this one time playing easports NHL I got a shutout and scored the game winner playing only the goalie lol)

  • Albertabeef

    When the Flames played the oilers the first few times with Talbot, I was slightly jealous. But then I watched him play and realized he wasn’t that good it was just his size and huge pads that made him good. When the NHL changed goalie equipment last season I said “guys like Talbot were screwed now”.

    • Derzie

      No one wants to talk about the pads. Scoring went up last year. A lot. Good goalies stayed good. Bad goalies stayed bad. Goalies that leaned on the equipment got exposed. Which one is Talbot? Smart money is on the pad changes. Banking our hopes on the opposite being true is irresponsible.

      It cannot be more clear in what we need after last year
      – An above average goalie (signed Talbot – fail)
      – More tenacity (let players like Hathaway walk, missed on Kardi – fail so far)
      – Build the farm (Draft seemed average. No new picks in trade – neutral)

      • Albertabeef

        OTW wow did you ever watch this guy play? Am I the only one? It’s called an observation, not freaking laser eyes lol. A month without hockey and you all forget everything that ever happened lol.

        • Off the wall

          Haha, Beef you really need a hobby! Take up the guitar, it’s fun and frustrating at the same time.
          I have bundles of fun enjoying it and loathing it..
          It’s kinda like being on here!

          If ya don’t like the sound of the guitar, it’s the player… not the guitar, unless you buy a crappy one, then it’s both!

          I don’t know if Talbot is going to be crappy. However, we have him and I want to see him succeed. Just like I want ya to succeed in taking up a musical instrument.
          Perhaps a trumpet might be better for you? You make a lot of noise…😀

          • Albertabeef

            Actually I am a quiet guy, I just carry a big freaking stick! lol. I am allowed my opinions. Right now I see this as a waste of a signing, whether he succeeds or not.

          • Albertabeef

            Well with two seasons till the expansion, a two year deal would have made more sense to me. But that’s just me. I would have given Lehner a 2 year contract, but not Talbot. Bottom line is do you think we can win a cup with this tandem? Can Talbot and Dave get us there this year? Otherwise it does not matter how he plays if he leaves after one season. Unless Tre thinks Parsons will be ready next year to replace Talbot, but that is a huge gamble too. IDK it’s a couple days later now and it just still feels bad to me.

          • withachance

            @beef:

            Lehner was a gamble, played with mind out, Vezina trophy candidate and left the team.

            You’re saying Talbot would still be a bad signing if that also happened next year. How does that not make sense?

          • withachance

            @beef:

            So you’re saying all signings with no clear long term benefit is a good signing? wow…

            NYI definitely regrets signing Lehner last year by that logic

          • Kevin R

            But Beef, why was it that Islanders didnt resign him after the year he had? Red flag flapping. Why didnt Columbus jump all over him? Another flag? Of all guys I was shocked to see he had to sign a 1 year term with the Hawks. Something more to this & maybe its good we dont have that kind of distraction in our dressing room. Talbot wants to be here, he wants to succeed & be better. Its a 1 year deal. If he plays great & gets a Vezina nomination, that will be a very good problem for us to have, dont you think?

    • The Beej

      No blinders… but was there really a better option for back up or 1B duty?

      People have thrown Mrazeks name out there but if you look at his history Talbot is the superior tender. Very possible that Mrazek turns back into a pumpkin after his strong season.

      Ultimately any signing would have been somewhat risky. We paid a bit of a premium (other goalies were going for around 2m-see Smith and Elliott as examples) for a goalie with a better history.

      So far I havent really seen the critics of this signing post a better alternative.

      • deantheraven

        If Tre had waited, he could’ve got Louis Domingue for next to nothing. Or McBackup.
        It seems as though Mgmnt doesn’t have faith that Rittich can carry the mail. And fair enough, except that now that they signed a back up for nearly what they might have paid Ritter as a new RFA, his deal goes up too. Can’t imagine the goalies costing less than 6 mil now. If Tre had had a little faith, he could have saved over 2 mil in cap space for the other RFA’s that we all want to see playing in red come October.
        Is Talbot 1 mil better than Smitty? 2 mil better than Gillies? Doesn’t matter now. The deal is done, all we can do is wait and see. < Nothing worse than starting the season HOPING for League-average goaltending.

        • HOCKEY83

          Domingue is UFA but i think whoever signs him needs to be careful. He does have a very good win loss stat last season. One of the tops in the league but his goals against and save % makes it look like he only won games because tampa out scored the other team by 4 or more goals to win. Before last season his save % and goals against were even worse and over his 5 previous seasons he lost 50% of his games he played. I think he’s a gamble on any other team.

        • The Beej

          1. No evidence we could have gotten Macbackup. He obviously wanted to be in Tampa.

          Domingue…. yikes.

          2. Its nothing to do with lack of faith in Rittich. Its pure risk management 100%. Rittich hasnt carried a starters workload whereas Talbot has. So Talbot makes a perfect plan B. Domingue has never been a starter.

          Its about risk management. Having “faith” or belief in a player is fine but it DOES NOTHING TO MITIGATE RISK.

          If you have a job in a any field nevermind GM of a multi million dollar hockey club you must RISK MANAGE.

          If you carry out your duties based on “faith” you will find yourself fired in short order… just like any proffessional field….

          Hmm… faith… do they do that in edmonton I wonder?

          Faith Puljujarvi is ready at 19 years old. Faith that despite all evidence to the contrary Lucic and Russell will help us to the promised land.

          Hmmm.. i think that might be how they do things in Edmonton.

          Why on earth you would want our GM to make Faith based decisions is completely beyond me.

      • The Beej

        And Gillies is not an alternative. He is not an NHL goalie. If we go into the season with Gillies and Rittich gets hurt or falters then we may very well have thrown away a season of contention. Running with Gillies as some have suggested would be the riskiest play possible. To acquire a goaltender mid season would be difficult and might require a decent asset being sent in return.

        Gillies was never going to be an option.

  • cjc

    I don’t really disagree with the signing – they had to find someone, and Talbot was as good as the other realistic options out there.

    However, I think something should be noted about the bad seasons those other goalies had. First, they weren’t as bad as Talbot’s; Price’s was the worst at .900. Lehner posted a .908 – if you’re going to count Talbot’s 2017-2018 as good, you also need to say Lehner’s .908 was okay.
    Second, they were all 30 or under when the bad season happened – Price was the oldest at 30, Quick and Lehner were 26. It’s a bit of a cherry-picked list. You could also look at Antii Niemi (32)- had a bad season in 2015-2016, never recovered. Lehtonen (31) dropped off a cliff in 2014-2015, never made it back. Schneider went off the rails when he was 30 and never recovered (yes, he has battled injuries). Talbot has been on a downward trend for 2 years, even if it was with the Oilers.

    • wot96

      This. And the post by Flint too.

      Pat, the risk is that the Flames miss the playoffs and basically blow their window because they couldn’t plug a major hole in the lineup.

      The reward? The reward only materializes if he has a standout season.

      As was pointed out elsewhere, he probably does need to get more games in to bring his game back into shape, if that is even possible. So are he and Rittich going 50/50? 60/40, or 70/30 or what?

      This signing is too expensive for what he is. A backup. And that extra cost for a backup may yet cost us something much bigger, like a Tkachuk or a Bennett. And don’t say that’s gloom and doom, both could yet sign an offer sheet. The former too rich to match period and the latter too rich for the budget.

      So no, I disagree Pat. This risk was not worth the reward. Not at that price.

      • RealMcHockeyReturns

        Disagree as it seems obvious both guys (like last year) will have the chance to be #1 or it’s a 1a/1b situation which engenders internal competition that GM and Head Coach want. Cheap deal for established goalie. Also no big risk as 1 year only and we have time to see more AHL development from Gillies, Zagudolin, etc

        • Cheeky

          Sorry Real but internal competition only works if there is no favortism. Like the last couple years it always boils down to who the coach likes best, not who deserves it. Smith got starts until it was extremely painful to all that he shouldn’t be, yet still got the nod come playoffs even though he didn’t deserve it (yes he was great but that’s big the point). The point is that Calgary needs to recognize Rittich as starter this year, with Talbot subbing occasionally…

    • cberg

      Somewhat true, examples of dropping off a cliff also exist. One thing to note is last year all goalies dropped averages, probably due to smaller equipment which is what the NHL wanted.

  • Flint

    Looks like we’ve lost Dalton Prout as well. Not the biggest deal, but we were told we need to get tougher. This is a list of the guys going out from last years roster:

    Prout
    Hathaway
    Smith
    Fantenberg

    guys without a contract (which I’m sure will get done)
    Tkachuk
    Bennett

    Vegas needs cap space and are looking to move Reeves (but it’d likely be to the East)

  • Garry T

    Kevin R. Like your Montreal trade for Brodie. Put a condition in the deal that makes the 3rd. A 2nd. If Brodie really shines in Montreal with the CDNS making the playoffs this year.

    In the meantime, get Dzingel to the Flames. He is becoming a 40 goal man
    And he is still out there at this writing. Pulujjarvi is still out there as well.
    Promise him first and second line employment and offer him 3 year term. He is a big boy, fast, talented and really was mis-used in Edmonton. He could be the steal of a deal. Get Tkachuk signed to a 4 year deal at $4.5 per year, with an affordable signing bonus and the possibility of other bonuses with higher targets for production incorporated. Some other writers have suggested Eehlers out of WPG. Find out what that would take and if Frolik still insists on being moved, trade him back to Winnipeg. They know him.
    Is a big boy, talented

  • Rus

    One bad season? I just plotted his save % year by year and it’s almost exactly linear decline year over year (except for the consistency between 1st & 2nd Oiler seasons), which projects to sub .890 this year. I’m not that pessimistic, but the trend is very real before last year

  • Off the wall

    I really need to stay positive. We’re under a tight Cap crunch, and perhaps I’m going ‘off the wall’ with my comments.

    In reality, Treliving has made this team better, not withstanding our horrible playoff series. Perhaps that’s our biggest challenge. We all want playoff success!

    It appears Treliving is doing whatever he can. Perhaps not as fast as we expect, (Brodie-Kadri)
    but at least he’s doing something. While he could have got rid of assets at the TDL, he chose not to. The signs were there that our Flames were not great from the All Star break onward. But when you’re already committed to the players, you expect their best, and we did have a 117 point season. That’s pretty impressive, considering we had a shaky start at seasons beginning.

    I’ll concede that Talbot wasn’t my first choice, (I was pretty vocal about that) however if Talbot has a season like 16/17 minus the 73games,(what the hell) I believe we’d all be happy for him.

    So for now, Otw is going to be waiting and hopefully.
    July 1st has come and gone, we lost a gritty player in Hathaway and a decent D in Fantenberg.
    I wish them the best. Lazar give em hell! Smith, it’ll be fun watching you in a Oiler’s uniform. Best of luck! But not too much 😉

    I’ve been grumpy since the playoffs. I really need to ‘chill out’ and hope we get back to being a excited Nation.

    Our patience is being tested. I’d rather come outta this feeling positive, wouldn’t you?!

    • Albertabeef

      I don’t think Tre has improved the team. The players who were under our control before Tre arrived have improved for most parts. Mostly I don’t think he’s improved our team all that much. No matter the GM we would still likely have drafted Tkachuk and Benny. The buyouts and bad contracts are most definitely taking it’s toll on the franchise. Brouwer, Jagr, Neal, Smith, and now Talbot. Tre’s record isn’t so good. But the team still succeeds despite him.

      • Off the wall

        Beef- So you’re saying that getting Monahan and Gaudreau signed for under $7M was a bad thing? And the Carolina trade was not good enough? Ok

        We have Lindholm and Hanifin at great value for what they bring to this franchise. Both are young and talented.

        We went from not making the playoffs the previous year, to being the number 1 seed in the Conference last season. Even I’m not silly enough to say they didn’t get better.

        Our goal differential was +62, the previous year it was -30.

        I just don’t understand how you can say that, other than your predisposition to being negative.
        Even Raffy is showing signs of optimism!

        • Albertabeef

          Contracts amounts have nothing to do with whether or not he has improved the team. Yes we had an elite(ish) point total. But were we that good, or was our conference really that bad? Did we look like an elite team the last 30 games + playoffs? Scoring wise we dominated the third period, and only the third period, is this realistically sustainable? Come from behind wins, short handed goals. Can we really duplicate or improve on last season? Was last season just mostly a fluke? Getting crushed(yes CRUSHED) by the Avs in 5 games might suggest our regular season was indeed a fluke. I don’t like being like this but after reanalyzing last season and playoffs this is what I see. I’m still optimistic, just incredibly frustrated on this subject. Wanna talk prospects and I’m all flowers and rainbows. Wanna talk about Tre and I’m instantly ready for war lol. Other than obvious draft picks any GM would have taken and one maybe good trade he’s done zip to improve the team. Traded away way too many top end draft picks for the two Ham’s. What is so wrong with objective criticism? It’s not like I am making stuff up.

          • Albertabeef

            Last year’s team reminds me of 2014-15, we finished that year with stats that were completely unsustainable and we missed the playoffs the next year.

          • Albertabeef

            Call it whatever you want, they ran all over us. We couldn’t keep up. If it weren’t for Smitty it would not have even been that close. Let me put it this way, we had an average of 28.1 shot against per game in the regular season, Avs averaged 41 shots per game against us in the playoffs. We got CRUSHED!

          • withachance

            1. Cap management isnt a crucial part of improving an organization in the current cap era? hmm ok
            2. The Flames definitely faltered i nthe tail end of the season, but the first 50 games overall?
            3. If winning the third period consistently is not sustainable, then losing the first two periods consistently is definitely not sustainable either and not a true reflection of this team either, right?
            4. I really dont think getting routed in FIVE games means EIGHTY TWO games were luck. Lets not throw basic stat analysis out the window here. It might actually reflect that the 5 games were a fluke…
            5. The prospects for Hamilton and Hamonic is a more subjective topic. Tre thought we were entering a window and prospects in the teens wouldnt develop fast enough. Im ok with either options here to be honest

          • Cfan in Van

            Hilarious that you compare the unsustainable stats from ’14-’15 with this year. Those stats are completely reversed when compared to ’18-’19. From not sustainable to very sustainable.

      • withachance

        Lindholm, completely revamping the bottom 4 of the defence, revamping the prospects cupboards (Andersson, Vali, Kylington, Dube and Mangi), signing players to team friendly deals. Whiffs on UFAs, but decent approach/thinking (vets with playoff pedigree), went from basement team to top team in the west.

        • The Red Knight

          Trevlings first few years as a head GM too,so I try to look at it as is he learning ? I believe he is ,the top ufas are always an overpay , and who knew that Neal was gonna have that poor of a season? It’s quite possibly we see some comeback season s for some players while others may regress in numbers . This is a young team that’s still getting better so adding is not always necessary every free agency.

  • Kevin R

    Thanks Pat. These doom & gloom threads are hard to read sometimes.
    In hindsight, looking at Lehner signing a 1 year deal at 5.0 mill was kind of interesting & potentially would have placated the negative mobs but economic reality lead Tre to Talbot. I dont think Mike Smith has accepted he is at best a 1B option & more along just a backup. He may be good in the dressing room but his frustrations were evident to my eye test. I am happy we moved on, especially with how popular Rittch is in that dressing room. Talbot will be a much better fit & we hope , a real nice surprise. 1 year at about half of what Lehner cost makes sense. Lets move on, one box ticked off the list.

    • LannyMac

      Hey Kev not negative just pointing out facts if realistic people bother you there is a whole library of fantasy that Walter Disney accumulated just waiting for your enjoyment. Pat your wrong if we look at Talbots history his GAA is steadily digressing. So Kev do I hope he has a bounce back year for the sack of the team I cheer for, you bet. But the evidence says it’s unlikely. I’m not negative I’m a realist and that works for me.

      • SGRietzey

        Who cares if his GAA is regressing? If you allowed 3 goals on 50 shots in a single game, you’d have a GAA of 3.00, but a save percentage of 0.940. See the flaw in basing your “analysis” on that? Talbot’s GAA was right in line with the amount of goals the Oilers gave up, Koskinen’s wasn’t much lower. That’s at least as indicative of the Oilers as a team as it is their goalies.

        The evidence actually suggests the opposite of what you seem to think. Talbot has had a consistently strong save percentage – a stat that matters, rather than GAA – aside from last year. It’s a much safer bet that Talbot has a rebound year than say, Smith puts up even league average goaltending at age 37.

    • KootenayFlamesFan

      Talbot’s career stats are identical to Leher’s

      Also, Greiss played equally well for the same number of games during the regular season and we’re not hearing any raving about him….weird.

      I’m excited about this signing and think he and BSD will make a great tandem!

      Now we just need to trade brodie/Frolik and buy out Stone and we should be set!

        • Albertabeef

          Well he said it’s a “show me” contract. If it is truly a “show me” contract, that would suggest another contract afterwards. Knowing Tre it would be a 5 year contract, which takes Talbot till just before his 38th Bday. How much do I have to break this down to make it easier for you to understand?

          • cberg

            Beef, if Talbot comes in, wins the starter’s job via injury or play, plays exceptional, wins the Vezina and carries the Flames on his back to its second SCup, that 5 year $6mil contract will be seen as a bargain. ….a bit dramatic but no less than your seeming nonsensical paranoia the other way. Talbot is cheap, only 1 year, has great history who based on other goalies is likely to bounce back and still relatively young. It’s a good deal. Next contract will take care of itself based on the coming season.

          • Albertabeef

            Yes which means he’s not part of our future so why sign him in the first place? Let Gillies back up Rittich. Now we are right back at the Hiller, Ramo, Ortio issue again.

          • Albertabeef

            Cberg that’s a lot of if’s to put on him. I wouldn’t hold my breath. I’d rather look at the facts objectively and be surprised if I am actually wrong.

          • Baceda

            Ha ok there beef, it’s still a big overreaction, the plan is clearly for Rittich to take the reigns as the goalie of the future and for Talbot to be there to support him in a back up role. Even if Talbot plays good he’s not getting that absolutely drastic contract you mentioned.
            And Talbot is not just trying to show the Flames he can play well, he’s trying to show the whole league, his next contract could be with anyone

  • BendingCorners

    The glass is half-full, not half-empty.
    BT needed to find a better backup than Gillies, and (probably) did.
    He still wants to move Frolik and/or Brodie, and at some point will, if the deal is right. That should open enough cap space to grab a late-August UFA or two. A cheap player like Archibald would add some grit. Ferland, Dzingel or Johannson could still be available then also. Even Vanek on a one-year bonus-heavy deal might be a good pickup.
    The Flames seem to believe that their current lineup will learn from their spring debacle and play better next spring. I’m not sure they are correct but it’s an understandable viewpoint.
    The iffiest thing is not moving on from Neal. Hoping he comes back fit and feisty seems a stretch.
    The Flames are still missing another top-six scorer, even if everything else works out. Next season should be fun to watch but might still early depending on who the Flames face in early April.
    All in all, the Flames are not going to be Cup favorites, but should have a shot and should be entertaining. Good enough for now, maybe.

    • HarveysFleaCollar

      Kirkland is a solid kid..used to coach against him when he played bantam aaa here in Alberta. Might be able to eventually be a solid 4th line player.

  • everton fc

    “Last year was my worst year as a professional and it’s something I don’t take lightly,” Talbot said Monday. “I’ve been back in the gym and working hard for a long time now already, I didn’t take too long off. I want to make sure that something like that doesn’t happen again. (It’s) kind of a redemption year for myself personally and professionally.”

    Isn’t this what Neal said?!

  • withachance

    Some here really think BT can pull off miracles. He cant get starter quality goalies if there isnt one. He cant make a trade for players if other GMs arent keen on the trade. He cant magically make cap appear out of thin air.

    Let the man work jesus theres so much time left until the new season.

          • Albertabeef

            We all need our turn, isn;t that what this blog forum is for? I’m only like this until the season starts. Then I get to defend Benny, Mange, and Brodie all season long lol. I have even defended Neal, but that won’t be happening this season. I was understanding of Neal going to the finals and changing teams two years in a row. That can’t be easy on your off season training.
            I defended Mony and all his surgeries last season that kept him from proper summer of training.
            I freak out a little over Talbot and you all lose your minds calling me negative lol. Awesome! But at least I use facts and don’t make harsh personal attacks on other posters like some do to me.

          • Albertabeef

            I do take what I dish out, but I don’t cross certain lines. Ribbing is fine, but someone has crossed that line. Just pointing it out. My ribbing is usually followed by a “lol” which for me implies joking(most the time).

    • wot96

      This is a very fair observation. But I think we need to be prepared for someone to offer sheet chucky. And if the price is low enough, they will probably match but then could be hooped on filling out the rest of the roster.

      I think there was a gamble that the cap would be higher at $83m and now that it isn’t, there are some hard times ahead.

  • KootenayFlamesFan

    We were the second best team in the league during last regular season and goaltending was not the issue in the playoffs.

    Why anyone is metlting down about goaltenders is beyond me. That’s the last thing that needs to be fixed right now.

    • Albertabeef

      Are we expecting another season of six goal games? Kind of would be nice to not have to come back or score 6 goals in a game to win. Sure we did it last year but look what happens when goals dry up. The Flames had many awesome elite periods last year but only a handful of full elite games.

  • Kneedroptalbot

    A constant downward trend in SV%. He’s not a positional goaltender but a reflex goaltender like Quick or Ranford (once the reflex’s go…) they’re gone.
    Folks he’s done.