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Will Cam Talbot & The Flames Get A Second Date?

Calgary’s best playoff performer is a free agent.



Was Game 6’s inexplicable implosion the last time Cam Talbot will wear the Flamming C? As his current contract is stated, yes because he’s a UFA now that the Flames have been eliminated from the playoffs. BUT, could there be some wiggle room for the Flames to bring Talbot back to compete/take/keep the starting job from David Rittich? I say yes and the Flames and Talbot should be talking to each other immediately about that happening. And that appears it MIGHT be the case according to Salim Nadim Valji of the New York Times.

Now take it for what it’s worth: it’s a tweet after a team was eliminated from the playoffs and a team that has clear goalie issues. BUT the Flames and Talbot should 100% be exploring this option. The Flames cap situation is tough next year as they have 8 UFA’s and 3 RFA’s (not including Talbot) and they’ll need to replace most of those players with equal or better options. With that said, the Flames goaltending situation is far from settled and there’s no help coming from the farm anytime soon.

David Rittich is still a member of the Flames, as he’s under contract for next season at $2.75 million dollars, the same as Cam Talbot was for last season. Coming into 2019-20 it looked like Talbot was simply the back up option and Rittich was the starter after his solid 2018-19 campaign. However, as this season moved along and Talbot got the chance to play he shined when he was on the ice. He finished with a decent record on the season, but still had a very good GAA and Save %, despite only seeing 26 games as the starter. Here’s what Calgary’s two goaltenders looked like when the season was put on hold:

Cam Talbot- GP: 26, 12-10-2, 2.62 GAA, .919 Save%, 2 SHO

David Rittich- GP: 48, 24-17-6, 2.97, .907 Save%, 2 SHO

Close to being a wash numbers wise, but when it came to the most important of the season (playoffs) the Flames rode the goalie who saw less action, but whom they clearly had more confidence in……..Cam Talbot, Rittich’s only post season play, besides his disastrous relief duty in Game 6 (3 goals on 9 shots in 10+ minutes of play) was in Calgary’s exhibition game against Edmonton. In that game Rittich stopped seven of nine, but the Flames were clearly more confident in Talbot coming into the playoffs and they definitely made the proper choice.

Cam Talbot was one of the reasons the Flames made it as far as they did in the playoffs, even with some terrible play in front of him at times. He faced 90+ shots in Game 4 & 5 and was still the best Flames player on the ice. His implosion in Game 6 was all on him, but I don’t think Geoff Ward did the goalie any favours by pulling him and then putting him back in after Rittich fell apart.

When you look at the current free agent goalie landscape it’s a mix of some good and some bad, but would any be worth moving on from Talbot?

Braden Holtby (Washington): 25-14-6, 3.11 GAA, .897 Save% ($6.1 million in 2019-20)

Robin Lehner (Vegas): 19-10-5, 2.89 GAA, .920 Save% ($5 million in 2019-20)

Mike Smith (Edmonton): 19-12-6, 2.95 GAA, .902 Save% ($2 million 2019-20)

Corey Crawford (Chicago): 16-20-3, 2.77 GAA, .917 Save% ($6 million in 2019-20)

Jacob Markstrom (Vancouver): 23-16-4, 2.75 GAA, .918 Save% ($3.66 million in 2019-20)

Craig Anderson (Ottawa): 11-17-2, 3.25 GAA, .902 Save% ($4.75 million in 2019-20)

Anton Khudobin (Dallas): 16-8-4, 2.22 GAA, .930 Save% ($2.5 million in 2019-20)

That’s just some of the “better” goalie options in the free agent pile, are any of them a better option than Cam Talbot? I suggest not and for a few reasons. One, money. No way Talbot is going to give the Flames a discount, but he also won’t break the bank. Past performance on some of these guys will either push them out of the Flames price range or their most recent performance won’t be worth what their contract will end up being. Two, the Flames aren’t winning a Cup anytime soon. This unremarkable post season performance showed that the Flames aren’t built properly and what’s the point in breaking the bank on a goalie that’s going to be on a team that’s either doing a soft rebuild or a complete rebuild?

The Flames have a couple of goalies in the system that could be NHL quality, but not in the next year or two. Talbot, at a reasonable deal (even if it’s a one year deal) just makes sense for the Flames current situation. Talbot and his family don’t have to up root themselves for another year, he’s easily got a chance to take/keep the starters role and he can earn some extra coin while figuring out what comes next.

I’m not writing David Rittich off entirely because he’s still under contract with Calgary and he has a past history of playing well. He also has a past history of collecting nagging injuries and his emotional outbursts have hurt him at times.

Calgary has big decisions to make this off-season and goaltending is one of them. If I’m the Flames I work out a deal with Cam Talbot that works for both sides, all while knowing this will be a very different team when the Flames next take the ice.

What do you think? Vote in our poll below!

by Mark Parkinson