It appears that the Kings have their backup goalie. Early this morning, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported there was a chance Cam Talbot would wind up with Los Angeles and it appears that will be the case as ESPN’s Kevin Weekes reports (Twitter link) that the veteran will sign a one-year deal with the Kings. Friedman also reports the deal is worth $1MM plus performance bonuses. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun clarifies the base salary is $775K, plus a $225K signing bonus and a $1MM bonus if Talbot plays 10 games.
The 35-year-old spent last season with Ottawa after indicating he wasn’t thrilled about the possibility of playing in a timeshare situation with Marc-Andre Fleury. Unfortunately for Talbot and the Sens, things simply did not go well for him. He battled injuries throughout the season and when he was healthy, he didn’t put up his best numbers, posting a 2.93 GAA along with a .898 SV%, numbers that are considerably worse than his career averages of 2.65 and .914 respectively. When the Senators acquired Talbot, they hoped it could be the beginning of a longer-term relationship but after early extension talks went nowhere, they eventually declined to offer him a contract after the season.
Despite the poor showing last season, there’s reason for optimism for Los Angeles as Talbot posted a save percentage no lower than .911 in the previous three campaigns. Accordingly, they feel that this could be just a blip on the radar.
They will be counting on Talbot to play a bigger role than he has had in recent years. At the moment, Pheonix Copley is the incumbent backup after signing a one-year, $1.5MM deal back in February. However, Copley’s career high in NHL games played in a single year is 37, set last season. For most of his career, he has been a backup or even a third-string option. As a result, the Kings will be counting on Talbot to be the strong-side option of their platoon.
While Talbot has long wanted to be a true starter, that opportunity hasn’t come along too often since leaving Edmonton back in the 2018-19 campaign. Since then, he has only reached Copley’s 37-game mark once. Barring another NHL goalie being signed, Talbot will have the opportunity to push for the true number one job in the hopes of creating a strong market for himself next summer. At a minimum, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Kings add a veteran third-string option to play the role that they originally envisioned for Copley last season, giving them an experienced third netminder to turn to if need be.
In the meantime, this pushes Joonas Korpisalo, who played a key role for them down the stretch and in the playoffs, to the open market where he’ll be one of the top options on the board.