With the NHL Entry Draft less than a week away we've officially entered the "danger zone" for a potential Cam Talbot trade. If the Rangers are going to move Talbot -- and at this point that seems likely -- then they really need to do it before the draft.
Why does it have to be done before the draft? Mainly because that's when Talbot will have the most value. I covered this topic about a week ago, and what I said then still holds true.
There is one other factor here, too. Talbot is coming in cheap this year, entering a one-year, $1.45-million deal. If the Rangers don't move Talbot this summer he essentially has no real value remaining. He's not going to get moved at the deadline (because what Stanley Cup contender is going to re-work their goalie situation so close to the playoffs?) and his only value would be to a team interested in grabbing his negotiating rights. And as we've seen this past summer, those hauls are usually around a 4th or 5th round pick.
So to boil it down, the Rangers have one opportunity to move Talbot, and it's this summer, before his extension kicks in. This way the team acquiring him will get a cheap option for a year, which gives them time to evaluate his next contract.
Elliotte Friedman, once again, sheds some light on the Talbot situation in this week's installment of 30 Thoughts.
7. As for Cam Talbot, the toughest thing preventing the Rangers from getting the best possible price for him is that he's on a one-year contract with free agency beckoning. Under CBA rules, he cannot be extended until Jan. 1, 2016. If teams knew they could do it in July, you could get permission to talk to him and have an idea of what you're looking at. That's not possible. He's still good value. But this gives the acquiring team less control.
The above shouldn't, by any means, be taken as a reason why Talbot won't be dealt, though. The Rangers should have a very good idea of where they're standing with Talbot and why it's so important to maximize his value now, when he's at his peak value.
But Monday morning, Darren Dreger reported the exact opposite:
Talbot trade watch continues. Expect he gets traded this week. Buf, Edmtn, SJ and Dallas in the mix. Great contract requires high return.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 22, 2015
Pretty much insinuating Talbot's deal is something that's going to earn the Rangers a higher return. There are two ways to look at Talbot's contract: Negative) It's only one year, Positive) It's a great cap hit if he's your starter. If more teams are looking at it as the latter then good for the Rangers.
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Talbot's not the only name surfacing when it comes to trades, however. Defenseman Kevin Klein has also seen his name pop up in trade rumors, including package deals with Talbot for the best return possible. I actually think the duo would get a better return separate than together -- especially for a team that so desperately needs draft picks -- but it's fitting the Rangers are looking to unload both. That's more an indictment on Klein's salary and Talbot's value right now than anything else, but it makes sense that any move for the two is expected to bring back picks and prospects. I talked about the Rangers current salary cap options here.
Talbot's trade (if the Rangers do plan on cementing a deal) is the priority, since his value is pretty much gone after the draft. Klein's situation can take a little longer (since his value really doesn't change at all thanks to his long-term contract) but you have to assume the Rangers want to know what kind of cap space they're dealing with by the time free agency opens up in July.
So, yes, we've officially entered the first portion of a very important offseason for the New York Rangers. Making the right decisions here should help the Rangers make the right decisions at the draft, and then in free agency and then leading up to the regular season.
No pressure, guys.