The Minnesota Wild made one of the largest splashes at the trade deadline last season, acquiring Marc-Andre Fleury from the Chicago Blackhawks with hope that the legendary veteran would provide stability in the crease. Well, just a few months later that move might have shook up things a little too much and Cam Talbot wanted his way out.
After balancing the two-starter tandem for the last couple of months of the regular season and into the playoffs, the Wild signed Fleury in hopes to always have a dependable goaltender no matter the game. Talbot didn’t like the look of that and while he never formally requested a trade, some conversations must have been had. He was sent to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for young-but-unproven netminder Filip Gustavsson and Minnesota’s tandem was cemented.
At the NHL Media Tour in Las Vegas last week — essentially the one time stars from every team is gathered in one place to do a bunch of promos for broadcasters — Fleury expressed his feelings when he found out Talbot wanted to leave.
“Yeah, surprised,” Fleury said via The Athletic. “I expected to be sharing with Cam. He was a great guy and great to me right when I came in. So, a little surprised. But it’ll be a chance to play a little more. I love playing, right? So it’ll be fun and a good chance to battle to make the playoffs. ... Now, I’m the old guy again. The last few years, I’ve been the old one. It’s good to learn from the kids. I’m looking forward to playing with Gus.”
By all accounts, the two-headed tandem worked fine enough for both netminders. Fleury got his rest, Talbot got to share some of the victories, and the Wild got some results (maybe not in the playoffs). The only assumption one can make is that Talbot was fine with it being a short-term solution to a problem Minnesota dealt with all season long, but when Fleury signed his two-year extension in the summer, it must have been just the last straw and he wanted more of an opportunity.
Now he has that in Ottawa, on a young and up-and-coming team, and Fleury can hopefully share his experience with a young netminder that still hasn’t really shown a whole lot at the NHL level. He did enough with Matt Murray to earn him a Stanley Cup, so can he do the same eventually with Gustavsson and maybe Jesper Wallstedt down the line?
It will no doubt be an interesting couple of seasons in between the pipes.