Earlier this season, the Los Angeles Kings goaltending situation was average. Over the past two weeks, the situation seems to have resolved itself and Cam Talbot has emerged as the starter and, even more, may have put himself in some serious talk for teh Vezina Trophy.
Kings’ Talbot Elevating His Play
Talbot came to the Kings as a free agent this off-season as a means to supply veteran leadership and compete for the starter job with Pheonix Copley. Copley did not play well, thus making Talbot the starter. He has since ran with the opportunity and has been the backbone to the Kings success so far. The 6-foot-4 and 201-pound Talbot is 6-2-1 with a goals-against-average of 2.14 and a save percentage of .923. In his last five games, he is 4-0-1 with only seven goals against. While the team overall has played well, the goaltending of Talbot has lifted the team in many ways.
Talbot comes to the Kings organization after spending time with the Edmonton Oilers, New York rangers, Minnesota Wild, Philadelphia Flyers, Calgary Flames, and Ottawa Senators. He has a career record of 224-158-37, a GAA of 2.64 and a save percentage of .914.
In terms of where he ranks with other goaltenders across the league, Talbot is tied for second in wins (6), tied for sixth in saves (229), tied for 14th in save percentage (.923), and ninth in GAA (2.14). Talbot has made timely saves and is calm under pressure. His time through the league is coming through as he has seen these teams many times over and knows their strategies. His technique is not like the others and he is a throwback to the old netminders who stay upright to make a save.
Talbot has the task of leading this strong, deep, and experienced Kings team to more than the playoffs. They have done the playoff thing already but now they want more, and have the team do so. Talbot has the playoff experience as well, playing in 33 games, starting 31. His playoff record is 15-16, with a .921 save percentage and a GAA of a solid 2.51.
Talbot is exceeding expectations and the defense as a whole is playing extremely well. The defense ranks in the top 10 of the league rankings in three critical categories. Team GAA is ninth (2.82), the penalty kill is at a 84.6% kill rate, and they are third in shots-against- per-game at 27.4. The Kings have given up 31 goals this season, ranking 11th in the league.
Talbot and the Kings are poised for a great season and are off to a tremendous start. This is a well-rounded, deep team that is capable of good things in the playoffs. With the Edmonton Oilers struggling, this may be the opportunity the Kings need to advance farther in the playoffs.
(photo: dailyfaceoff.com; Scott Maxwell) (photo: lakingsinsider.com; Zach Dooley)