Veteran goaltender Cam Talbot looks to being leadership to young Ottawa core

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OTTAWA — Cam Talbot is not sure what his first season in Ottawa will bring, but believes he still has a lot to offer the Senators as they look to become a playoff contender.

The Senators acquired Talbot from the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night in a trade a swap of goaltenders that saw Filip Gustavsson head to the Wild.

The 35-year-old Talbot will join Anton Forsberg to form Ottawa’s goalie tandem. Forsberg won the starting job last season, but it remains to be seen how duties will be shared moving forward.

"Honestly, I’m not quite sure what to make of the situation," Talbot said on a conference call with reporters Thursday. “It’s kind of a new opportunity for me. I’m not sure what the coaches or GM or anything envision, we haven’t had any of those talks yet.

“I want to still play. I think that I’ve got a lot of good hockey left in me and can still play upwards of 50-55 games a year. That’s what I’m going to push for, but you never know how a season is going to play out."

Forsberg played 44 games for the Senators last season and finished with a 22-17-4 record, but doesn’t have near the playing experience as Talbot. Until last season Forsberg was still trying to prove he deserved to be a starter in the NHL.

Talbot, a native of Caledonia, Ont., has a record of 201-142-34 over nine seasons with the New York Rangers, Edmonton, Philadelphia, Calgary and Minnesota. He has a career goals-against average of 2.63 and a .915 save percentage over 396 NHL games.

Talbot had a record of 32-12-4 with the Wild last season, with a 2.76 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage, but when the playoffs started the Wild turned to Marc-Andre Fleury, who was acquired by Minnesota in March.

Talbot played in Game 6 as the Wild looked to avoid elimination, but the St. Louis Blues went on to take the series with a 5-1 win.

The Wild signed Fleury to a two-year extension last week.

Despite the turn of events, Talbot holds no ill will towards the Wild and looks back at his two years in Minnesota fondly.

"We loved our time there," said Talbot. "We love the fans, the group of guys, the staff; we made some lifelong friendships there that will last forever and it’s just one of those things where there's only room in net for one guy."

The Senators will look to make a serious push to make the playoffs for the first time since 2017 after roster upgrades that include the addition of forwards Claude Giroux and Alex DeBrincat.

Talbot believes he can play a leadership role and help support the young core as it moves forward.

"I like to think that I bring a lot of leadership on and off the ice, work ethic, experience, you name it," he said. "0I’ve been a big part of the leadership group in the last few teams that I’ve been a part of so anything the young guys need to lean on me for, questions, experiences throughout the past hopefully I’ll be able to help out quite a bit there."

Talbot earned their respect back of Senators fans back in 2016 when he was with the Oilers.

Edmonton had just suffered a 2-0 loss to the Senators, but the game marked goaltender Craig Anderson’s first start since returning from a leave of absence to be with his wife, who had been diagnosed with cancer.

Talbot, who had been named the game’s second star, stayed near the ice to clap for Anderson, the game’s first star.

"Some things are bigger than hockey," Talbot said. “I felt the need to acknowledge that on the bench and obviously his performance and how tough that must have been, but how good that must have felt to get that win in the way that they did."

Having grown up in Ontario, Talbot is familiar with the Senators rivalry with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He recalls watching Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and fellow goaltender Ray Emery, who grew up not far from Talbot, make their Stanley Cup run in 2007.

"It’s going to be a special time," Talbot said. "I’ve been part of the battle of Alberta and now it’s going to be a lot of fun to be part of the battle of Ontario."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 14, 2022.

Lisa Wallace, The Canadian Press

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