Talbot turning heads
Talbot turning heads
Canadian netminder an asset
Canada has earned a right to be among the top-four remaining teams at the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. With timely scoring and strong defensive coverage, they have won seven of eight games and outscored opponents 40-8.
Key to their success has been the play of Cam Talbot. The Ontario native has been nothing short of sublime. Talbot has started six games and has posted a stunning goals against average of 1.17. He also has three shutouts.
“This guy’s been a monster,” defenceman Matt Dumba said of his teammate. “He’s been sick. He’s been huge for us the whole tournament.”
Against Sweden in the quarter-finals, Talbot was at his best. Despite the 6-0 score, Sweden would have its chances throughout and Talbot was there to stop them. Sweden took 24 shots on net, and all 24 were stopped.
“He was sharp. He was huge for us on the penalty kill,” Morgan Reilly said. “He was our best penalty killer for us, which is important.”
Talbot credits his success here with the team's overall commitment to defence.
"I can’t say enough about the guys in front of me," Talbot said. "They’ve been giving me some pretty good run support here. We battled through some adversity in the game against Finland, and obviously it didn’t go our way. But we refocused coming in against Sweden and came out with a big win."
Talbot has emerged over the past five seasons from undrafted free agent signee to backup, to able starter in the absence of a popular goaltender and in his own right, to World Championship medal contending stopper.
The Rangers signed Talbot as an undrafted free agent in the spring of 2010 after spending three years playing college hockey with the University of Alabama-Huntsville. After spending the better part of three seasons in the minors, Talbot worked his way onto the Rangers roster as a backup goaltender to Henrik Lundqvist. Talbot was more than up to the challenge and saved 94 per cent of the shots he faced in limited duty.
By next season when Lundqvist suffered a ruptured blood vessel in his neck after being hit by a shot in a game, Talbot took over and showed poise both on and off the ice.
"I have been waiting a long time for this, working this, so I'll be ready if I get the call," Talbot said at the time when he was tapped to take over for Lundqvist. "It is every kid's dream that grows up playing hockey to one day get the chance to play in the NHL."
In Lundqvist's absence, Talbot would go 17-4-3 as a starter with five shutouts and a 2.21 goals against average.
After being traded to the Edmonton Oilers in summer, Talbot started slow before finally earning the starting spot in goal.
This World Championship experience with Edmonton teammates Connor McDavid and Taylor Hall has allowed them an opportunity to test their skills at the international level and compete for a medal and represent their country.
Talbot has never had the chance to wear the Maple Leaf before and to do so as an integral member of Team Canada. This year is different.
What has been a solid tournament can only serve to bolster Talbot’s development as the goaltender that Edmonton has not had in some time.
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