‘No drama, no controversy’ after Wild sells goalie Cam Talbot to Ottawa


'No drama, no controversy' after Wild sells goalie Cam Talbot to Ottawa

Splitting games between a veteran duo is no longer planned for the wild on the net: Marc-Andre Fleury has become the undisputed starter.

The Wild clarified that on Tuesday, trading Cam Talbot to Ottawa for backup Filip Gustavsson. That ended speculation about whether the Wild could reunite Talbot and Fleury after Talbot was disappointed with his reduced workload in the playoffs.

“It’s probably best to just move in a different direction with Cam,” said general manager Bill Guerin. “There’s no drama that way. There is no controversy or anything like that.

“We just felt like it was at its best at the time.”

Severing ties with Talbot wasn’t originally the Wild’s intention. After Fleury re-signed to a two-year, $7 million deal last Thursday, the team envisioned bringing back the same tandem, though Talbot was upset that he wasn’t the starter for most of the postseason.

That strategy was questioned after Fleury’s deal, when Talbot’s agent commented to TSN on the NHL draft that Guerin had “a lot to think about.”

Guerin’s answer? Talbot is under contract and “My team is now hired.”

Both sides agreed to take a few days to “cool off” and after taking a closer look at the situation, Guerin said he didn’t want to put the team or the two goalies in an “awkward position” that would jeopardize the team’s success.

“We have good chemistry. We have good culture,” Guerin explained. “These things cannot exist if we are going to continue this. Only when I thought about it more did I find that it was for the best.

“Cam is a wonderful guy. It’s a big part of our culture today, and it’s not like it’s been a problem. Sometimes there’s just a little awkwardness, and that’s not always for the best.”

Although Talbot did not request a trade, Guerin said they discussed the scenario.

“I was in no way obligated to do anything,” Guerin said. “If we had decided to keep him, we would have kept him and worked through it.”

Talbot leaves the team after two seasons in which he went 51-20-9 with a 2.71 goals-against average, .913 save percentage and five shutouts.

He signed a three-year, $11 million deal in 2020 to take over the No. old Fleury closed on March 21st. From there, the two shared the crease until three-time Stanley Cup winner Fleury started Games 1-5 before Talbot replaced him for Game 6, a loss to St. Louis at the end of the series.

“Sometimes you just know in your gut that things might not work out and someone might not be happy,” Guerin said. “I don’t want a player to be like that either, and sometimes it’s best to just keep going.”

But Talbot’s departure didn’t just rock the Savages’ goalkeepers. His departure also created more room for the salary cap for the team on the eve of the NHL free agency, which begins at 11 a.m. Wednesday

Before this trade, the wild only had about $1.4 million at its disposal; Now that Talbot’s roughly $3.67 million cap hit was replaced by Gustavsson’s $787,500, the team has roughly $4.3 million to play with.

However, this increase may not change the savages’ spending habits.

A deep striker is still on the team’s radar and with his line-up almost at a standstill this could make headlines for the team’s activity if no more trades take place – especially as the team expects Marco Rossi to be in contention for a roster spot .

Nick Bjugstad and Nic Deslauriers are slated to become free agents, and while Deslauriers made an impression after an in-season trade from Anaheim, Guerin expects Deslauriers to get quite a bit of interest; that could price him out of the Wild’s budget.

What the team doesn’t need to buy is a goalkeeper.

Gustavsson was actually an option the Savages considered in the event Fleury did not return. Though disappointed that he won’t see how a Fleury-Talbot partnership would have gone, Guerin notes the promise in Gustavsson, who Pittsburgh drafted in the second round in 2016 while Guerin was in the Penguins’ front office.

Gustavsson, a 24-year-old Swede, has enjoyed a 5-12-1 season with the ailing Senators in which he recorded 3.55 goals against average and 0.892 saves.

“Filip can really thrive and learn a lot here,” said Guerin. “Not that he hasn’t been to Ottawa, but it’s a different style, a different way of playing here and I think he’ll benefit from that.”

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