Robin Lehner traded to Buffalo, what this means for Cam Talbot

Bobby Bevilacqua

cam talbot side profile 3-22

The Ottawa Sabres were able to get a first round draft pick in exchange for Robin Lehner and Devid Legwand. Talbot’s stats are better, so could he fetch the same return, or more? Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

This morning, the Buffalo Sabres acquired their new starting goaltender, trading away the 21st overall pick in return for David Legwand and 23 year old goalie Robin Lehner.

While Lehner is younger than Talbot, his stats are not all that impressive. The 6-foot-5, 225 pound goaltender has a career 30-36-13 record in 86 total games, posting a .914 save percentage and a 2.88 GAA. In this past season, Lehner was 9-12-3 in 25 games with a .903 save percentage and a 3.02 GAA.

His largest sample size came during the 2013-14 season, when he played 35 games, and finishing with a 12-15-6 record along with a .913 save percentage, a 3.03 GAA and one shutout.

David Legwand was a salary dump for Ottawa, as they get to shed his entire $3.5 million contract. Legwand, 34, adds to Buffalo’s already impressive center depth. A former second overall pick, he will help to mentor the deluge of young Sabres’ forwards.

This is great news for Rangers fans, except for the fact that it eliminates a potential suitor for Talbot. If Lehner was able to get the 21st overall pick, and many teams prefer Talbot, that must mean that Sather should be able to get a similar return.

Talbot has played 29 less games, but his stats are far better than Lehner. In his career, Cam has a 33-15-5 record with a .931 save percentage and a 2.00 GAA. What’s even more impressive is the fact that Talbot has proven that he can play well over a long stretch, after he stepped in for Henrik Lundqvist, playing 25 games and winning 16 of them.

Lehner is a work in progress, a promising young goalie with a lot of upside. He’s also big, which is an increasing trend in NHL nets. Tim Murray, the Sabres GM, helped Ottawa draft Lehner, so he knows what he is getting from the Swedish netminder. Lehner is signed for the next two years for a cap hit of $2.25 million.

When looking at Talbot, he seems more ready to slide into the starting goaltender role, which makes him an attractive option to teams that are looking to make a run as soon as next year. Talbot has played well in high pressure situations, he’s played well in long stretches, and he’s been a very good goalie.

cam talbot save 3-8

Unlike Robin Lehner, Talbot has proven that he can step in for long stretches and be a number one goalie, like he did when Henrik Lundqvist was injured. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

There are still quite a few teams interested in Talbot, including the Calgary Flames, San Jose Sharks, Dallas Stars, the Florida Panthers and the Edmonton Oilers.

The Oilers have the first overall pick in the draft, which they will use to take Connor McDavid, as well as the 16th overall pick in the first round, followed up by the 33rd pick in the second round. However, Chiarelli said that he would not trade the 16th pick for the goalie, which means that it would likely take a package of Talbot and someone else to get that pick.

The Oilers are also concerned with the fact that Talbot is a free agent after this year. Robin Lehner is signed for the next two seasons, which would have been more security for Chiarelli and Edmonton.

The Rangers could still wind up getting that 16th overall pick, but they would have to throw in another player that would benefit the Oilers’ roster. However, there has reportedly been another team kicking the tires about acquitting Talbot.

Surprisingly, the Florida Panthers have been reported to have increasingly more interest in the Rangers’ backup goaltender. They currently have Roberto Luongo as their number one netminder, and he is coming off of a very solid season. However, he is 36 years old, and the Panthers could be looking towards the future, or potentially going with a two-goalie tandem in South Florida. Their backup situation isn’t too great either, with Al Montoya and Dan Ellis potentially serving as the second goalie.

The Panthers hold the 11th overall pick in the NHL Draft later tonight, no second round picks, and two third round picks. But they also have a plethora of young talent, and could be willing to part with one of them for Talbot. It’s an interesting scenario, and one to certainly keep an eye on.

The bottom line is this. Glen Sather is going to try REALLY hard to get a first round pick in return for Cam Talbot. That is his goal, and he has a really good shot at getting one. But if the Oilers offer a second round pick and a prospect, like Martin Marincin or even Nail Yakupov, the Rangers should jump on it.

Remember that the Oilers aren’t the only team that has picks or prospects. Calgary has a ton of second round picks, so they could ship over two or three second rounders for Talbot. The Sharks have the 9th and 39th picks, and a few good young players like Melker Karlsson. And the Panthers could be an interesting trading partner.

One other thing to look out for is a package deal. A team like Edmonton needs help on defense as well, so a package deal of Talbot and a defenseman could potentially happen. The Rangers don’t have many moveable contracts, and the ones that stand out are Talbot, Kevin Klein, and Tanner Glass. Klein is a reliable forwards with a low cap hit that many teams would welcome, and Tanner Glass is a rugged forward that plays with grit, something that is valued by certain teams. The Rangers also need to clear cap space, so this is certainly a possibility.

tanner glass shooting 3-22

The Sabres were able to unload David Legwand’s contract in the Lehner trade. Could the Rangers do the same with Tanner Glass? Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

Something is bound to happen tonight. It seems inevitable. Sather really wants a first round pick, and he usually gets what he wants. The NHL Draft is at 7 PM tonight, so make sure to watch and stay updated with the latest news.

Be sure to check in to The Ranger Zone for all Rangers news surrounding the draft, and follow the site on Twitter @The_RangerZone to get breaking news and up-to-date information.

Posted on June 26, 2015, in Rangers Updates and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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