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Cam Talbot: “It’s Been Tough to Say the Least”

After his trade to Ottawa from Minnesota last summer, goalie Cam Talbot definitely hasn’t had the season he was hoping for.

And it’s certainly been a far cry from his all-star season with the Wild last year. Repeated injuries have led to bouts of inconsistency and Talbot is the first to admit it hasn’t gone the way he had hoped.

Talbot spoke with the media about that very subject after backstopping a 7-4 win over Tampa Bay on Saturday night. He was asked about his play over the past few weeks since coming back from his most recent injury.

“It’s been tough to say the least,” Talbot said. “Obviously, my game isn’t where it was before I got injured the last time. But, you know, I’m just, I’m trying to battle. That’s really the best thing I can do right now. The games haven’t had a ton of shots, but a bunch of scoring chances when they do come. So I haven’t really gotten into a groove and been able to feel the pucks. So, like I said, I’m just trying to battle through and give our guys a chance to win.”

Many Sens fans on social media have pronounced loudly they don’t believe Talbot can consistently do that anymore. With Talbot turning 36 this summer, even fans who are still in his corner have to be concerned about the number of injuries. Talbot was out from September 30 to November 3 with a rib injury; from January 25 to February 21 with a lower body injury; and from March 2 to March 22 with an upper body injury.

“I just felt like every time I was gaining some traction, something happened,” Talbot said. “And that’s never easy. You just have to come back and try to find that groove again. So it has been a difficult season in that regard. But like I said, I’m just focusing on the positive right now and hoping that we can finish off the season on a high note.”

Talbot probably didn’t find many positives last Thursday when he learned he was being made a healthy scratch in Florida in favour of Leevi Merilainen and Mads Sogaard, two goalies in their early 20s with almost no NHL experience. Both young goalies played that night and neither was very good at all in a 7-2 loss to the Panthers. So the team, hat in hand, circled back to Talbot, giving him the start two nights later.

“I mean, I obviously want to be in the lineup,” Talbot said. “But I understand some decisions that are made. You don’t always have to agree with them, but you understand them sometimes. So when they told me (Friday) I was getting a call again (Saturday night), I was ready to go. And sometimes you just take it as a mental reset and be ready to get back in the cage.”

Talbot will end up getting back in the cage somewhere next season. The only question is where? Actually, wait. There are lots of other questions:

Are the Senators still interested in Talbot? Should they be? What is Talbot’s market value at age 36? Did he truly ask for a deal worth $5 million? Is he capable of a healthier season and a bounce back? Can the Senators get by with Anton Forsberg and one of the kids this fall? If they go shopping, can they actually sign or trade for a better goalie than Talbot? And what will that cost them?

That’s a lot of evaluation and guesswork, but those are all crucial questions the Senators will have to address in the coming weeks.

By Steve Warne

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