What Cam Talbot's Emergence Means for New York Rangers, Henrik Lundqvist

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What Cam Talbot's Emergence Means for New York Rangers, Henrik Lundqvist
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Cam Talbot

When the New York Rangers demoted veteran goaltender Martin Biron to Hartford of the AHL in mid-October, there were many questions surrounding the 36-year-old’s successor, Cam Talbot.

The Caledonia, Ontario native impressed coach Alain Vigneault in training camp, but didn't impress him enough to make the opening-night roster. If it hadn't been for Biron’s nightmarish start, we certainly wouldn't have seen Talbot yet.

But it’s funny how things work out, as the Rangers now have what appears to be a pretty solid one-two combo between the pipes.

Talbot was forced into his first game last week when Henrik Lundqvist missed time with an undisclosed injury. His first game took place in Philadelphia, and although the Rangers lost, Talbot impressed by turning away 27 shots and allowing just two goals.

Talbot got his second taste of NHL action just two nights later when the team traveled up to Detroit—a place where the Blueshirts have struggled over the past decade or so. The team played a solid game and Talbot provided excellent back-end support, stopping 34 shots en route to a 3-2 overtime victory.

After the game, the Rangers headed back to New York for their first home game of the season. At that point, Lundqvist was healthy and reclaimed his position between the pipes, but the Rangers were also scheduled to play the next night on Long Island.

Talbot got the nod over Lundqvist against the Islanders and nobody knows if it was because AV wanted to take it slow with Hank coming back from injury or he is welcoming the push Talbot is providing his world-class keeper.

Regardless, Talbot shone once more.

His calmness and poise were that of a 10-year veteran, and he used his 6’3” frame to his advantage, turning away the deadly combo of John Tavares and Thomas Vanek time and time again. His efforts yielded 24 saves and the Rangers picked up another big win by the score of 3-2.

In the wake of his consecutive victories, fans dubbed Talbot “Prince Cam”—an homage to Lundqvist, who famously goes by The King.

That’s typical of the Rangers and their fans, always clinging to the latest and the greatest. Of course, there’s much to be pleased about regarding Talbot, but let’s not be rash.

Talbot has come in and provided the Rangers with something they haven’t had in over a year: a solid backup who can create a competitive atmosphere for Lundqvist while also giving the team a chance to win while Hank rests.

Furthermore, Talbot’s ability to join the team in the midst of a meltdown, play three solid games and help New York pick up four crucial points is a testament to the 26-year-old's focus.

He’s a good goalie, but branding him “Prince Cam” is over the top. The prince will not be dethroning the king anytime soon.

Drew Hallowell/Getty Images
Henrik Lundqvist

When he's on, Lundqvist is the best goalie in the world. Let’s not forget that.

Although it’s good for him to have a young netminder playing well behind him, let us also not forget that Lundqvist played his best hockey and took home the Vezina Trophy in 2011-12 with Biron—a backup who never had the faintest chance of nabbing the starting job—in the No. 2 spot.

My point is, Lundqvist doesn't need competition to perform well. He can motivate himself. Therefore, Lundqvist is and always will be the starter on this club as long as he is a part of it.

The only way Talbot takes over the starting job is if Lundqvist signs elsewhere next July, which isn't going to happen anyway.

Talbot’s emergence simply means that there’s someone the team can trust between the pipes when Lundqvist needs a breather. That’s it.

Rangers fans should just enjoy the fact that the club has a solid and exciting goaltending tandem. Don’t name the new kid on the block a prince, he’s got enough pressure to deal with playing in New York.

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