Cam Talbot traded to Oilers by Rangers for 3 picks
Backup goalie had 2.21GAA, .926 save percentage this past season
Veteran New York Rangers general manager Glen Sather has turned two months of brilliant goaltending from Cam Talbot into three 2015 picks in Saturday's NHL draft.
The New York Post reported on Thursday that the Rangers were seeking a first-round pick for the unflappable, technically sound Talbot, who has made 59 NHL appearances but never been a full-time netminder. But Friday's first round came and went without a deal.
Talbot, who turns 28 on July 5, was considered by many the most sought-after goalie on the market, with Calgary, Edmonton, Dallas and San Jose said to have been interested. Buffalo was also rumoured as a possible destination for Talbot but their GM, Tim Murray, acquired Robin Lehner from Ottawa earlier on Friday. Also Friday, Boston picked up Los Angeles Kings backup Martin Jones.
The second-round, third-round and seventh-round picks (57, 79 and 184 overall) were a steep price to pay for the Edmonton Oilers, which could see Talbot walk as an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Edmonton will also receive a later seventh-round pick.
Talbot is set to make $1.45 million US next season and can't be re-signed until Jan. 1.
He raised his value this past season during a nearly two-month period when Rangers starting goalie Henrik Lundqvist was out of the lineup with a serious neck injury.
New York didn't miss a beat, going 18-7 in that span, collecting 39 of a possible 50 points and Talbot appearing in all but two contests, going 16-4-3 with a 2.16 goals-against average and .929 save percentage. Overall, the native of Caledonia, Ont., went 21-9-4 with a 2.21 GAA and .926 save percentage.
One of the NHL's more cap-strapped teams, the Rangers had only five draft picks this weekend prior to the Talbot deal, including no first-rounders.
Dealing Talbot allowed Sather to get back some draft picks used to build a Stanley Cup contender. New York, which isn't up until the 59th selection on Saturday, hasn't had a first-round pick since 2012. This year's and next year's first-rounders belong to Tampa Bay (Martin St. Louis trade) and Arizona (Keith Yandle deal).
Last year's second-round pick was the Rangers' lone selection in the first two rounds over the last two years.
In 57 NHL regular-season games, Talbot is 33-15-5 with a 2.00 GAA and .931 save percentage.
Sather has about $11.875 million in salary cap space to try to keep restricted free-agent forwards Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin and J.T. Miller among others.