The Sharks’ search for another goalie appears to be heating up.
According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, the Sharks are among several teams interested in Cam Talbot, the soon-to-be 28-year-old Rangers goalie who has served primarily as Henrik Lundqvist’s backup for the past two seasons. According to Dreger, the Sharks and fellow Pacific Division rivals Edmonton and Calgary are the “most likely” targets. Dallas, Florida and Buffalo are also said to be in the mix.
Talbot has been impressive since getting promoted to the NHL full time, particularly last season, when Lundqvist was hurt for much of the second half. He posted a 21-8-4 record with a 2.21 goals-against average and .926 save percentage in 36 games, and was a big reason the Rangers earned the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
The price for Talbot could be steep. So, what could the Sharks offer?
Let’s start by mentioning what they won’t offer, and that’s the ninth overall pick in the upcoming draft in exactly one week. Sharks general manager Doug Wilson never had any plans last season to deal the pick, and it’s extremely unlikely he’s willing to do so now, especially considering it’s the highest they’ve drafted since 2007 when they chose Logan Couture. Expect the Sharks to use that pick on a player they hope will become a future star.
The Sharks do have a history of dealing second round picks, though – think Dominic Moore, Tyler Kennedy and a second rounder to move up and take Mirco Mueller – so perhaps the 39th overall selection is a good starting point for Talbot. According to one report, that’s already been suggested.
The problem there from the Sharks’ perspective is that they don’t have a third round pick (traded to Philadelphia for Tye McGinn last summer in a regrettable deal), and owning just one pick in the first three rounds in what is viewed as a deep draft is not ideal for a team that is already lacking organizational depth.
And, it will take more than just a second round pick, for a guy that isn’t exactly a youngster. Talbot turns 28 on July 5, so the Sharks could be reluctant to part with one of their top prospects unless they view Talbot as a can’t-miss number one.
Something else to keep in mind is that the Sharks are reportedly searching for another defenseman, which makes sense considering pending unrestricted free agents Matt Irwin and Scott Hannan are unlikely to return. Yahoo’s Greg Wyshynski speculated that the Rangers could be willing to trade 30-year-old blueliner Kevin Klein, a right-handed shot coming off of a solid season with 26 points and a +24 rating.
Klein, who would bring a very affordable $2.9 million cap hit for the next three seasons, could potentially fit on the right side of Marc-Edouard Vlasic, after Justin Braun’s concerning regression in 2014-15 may push him down the depth chart. Adding another right-hander would also allow the Sharks to keep Brent Burns’ even-strength minutes in check, which would be in their best interest.
Perhaps the 39th pick and one of the Sharks’ better prospects in exchange for Talbot and Klein is something that both clubs would consider.
Either way, the Sharks look primed to make some significant moves in Wilson’s most important offseason since he took over. Finding another starting goalie, whether it’s Talbot or someone else, would be a logical place to start.