Cam Talbot spoke publicly Thursday morning for the first time since the Wild traded him to the Ottawa Senators earlier this week.
The 35-year-old goaltender made it clear he was thrilled to be a part of the Senators, pointing to the fact that they signed veteran center Claude Giroux on the first day of free agency and traded for the dynamic winger Alex DeBrincat during the NHL Draft in Montreal.
“It’s an exciting time to be part of the organization,” Talbot said. “I can’t wait to step in and help this team take it to the next level.”
In the same breath, Talbot praised the Wild, making it clear he has no hard feelings as he closes this chapter of his career.
“Unfortunately, it didn’t work out,” Talbot said. “They gave me the opportunity to be a starting goaltender in the league again, and I can’t thank them enough. They trusted me a lot over the last two years and we had one of the best seasons in Minnesota Wild history. I will never forget my time there.
The relationship with the Wild began on October 9, 2020 when Talbot signed a 3-year, $11 million deal to be the undisputed starter. He performed very well during his time in St. Paul, compiling a 51-20-9 record, a 2.71 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage.
When the Wild traded for future Hall of Fame goaltender Marc-André Fleury last season, however, Talbot gradually grew frustrated with his role. He was the backup in the first-round playoff loss to the St. Louis Blues, and while Talbot remained professional through it all, he admitted after last season that he wasn’t thrilled.
“Yeah, obviously there’s disappointment when the season ends the way it ends and I’m not the guy who starts in Game 1,” Talbot said.
As difficult as it was for Talbot at the time, he expected to be back with the Wild next season. It wasn’t until Fleury re-signed last week that things started to change.
As general manager Bill Guerin considered a 50-50 split between Fleury and Talbot, he soon realized it probably wasn’t going to work. He had a conversation with Talbot’s agent, George Bazos, during the draft. Both sides agreed to take a few days to calm down, and Guerin ultimately decided it was best to move on.
“It played out in the media that maybe I had ill will towards the organization or something,” Talbot said. “It wasn’t like that at all.”
Asked about his discussions with Guerin before the trade, Talbot chose not to share details.
“It’s between me and Billy,” Talbot said. “We had a few conversations and both sides kind of thought that might be best.”
As for his time with the Wild, Talbot made it clear that he has many fond memories that he will take with him. He spoke at length about the “lifelong friends” he and his wife Kelly have made along the way. He also pondered the possibility of sharing the 2022 Winter Classic at Target Field with his family.
“Just being able to share it with my kids,” Talbot said. “They had so much fun on the ice. Just seeing their faces there and knowing that they will remember them more than some of the other (winter classics) from the past is always fond memories.
Other than that, Talbot said he will remember his teammates, especially the culture they helped establish over the past two years.
“Honestly, it was a very special group that we were part of,” Talbot said. “We always talk in this room and in the media about the proximity of our group. Those are some of the memories I will remember the most from then.