Goalie Cam Talbot took his initial turn in the Minnesota Wild net during a Wednesday’s preseason matchup at Colorado. He played about half the game and stopped 22 of 24 shots before Andrew Hammond relieved him.
But Talbot’s ice time should gradually increase as the Wild have three straight home games over the next week in a build-up to the regular season opener.
The 34-year-old said during a pregame media session that his camp workload has become pretty methodical over the past few years in terms of what he needs to feel prepared for the regular season.
“You ask me that seven or eight years ago I would have answered it differently,” Talbot said when asked of his preseason net time. “Now it’s more of a build up for me. I’m trying to manage my workload until it really counts. Obviously I want to feel as good as possible going into the season opener and I think with a couple full games, that should be enough for me and the half game (against the Avalanche on Wednesday).
However, when the regular season starts, Talbot seemingly doesn’t want to leave the net — even with an 82-game NHL schedule
“The more I’ve played, the better I’ve played,” Talbot said. “Sometimes when you get into those grooves or those roles, you want to be in the net every night. It doesn’t matter if it’s a back-to-back or every other day thing with travel.
“(Playing time) is up to the coaching staff,” Talbot said. “We haven’t played a full season in two-and-a-half years now and it will be up to them how they want to manage the goaltending. I fee my my best when just rolling. Sometimes that’s the best. You don’t really have a chance to think, you just to out there and play whether it’s a good night the night before or a rough one.”
Talbot started 40 regular-season and playoff games in 2020-21 in his first season with the Wild and earned the No.1 spot in a goalie tandem with Kaapo Kahkonen. He posted a 2.61 goals against average and a .915 saves percentage in the regular season.
Talbot told the media on Thursday that his job is simply to, “stop the (shots) I’m supposed to stop and give us a chance to win.” He credited his teammates for the last season’s performance.
“This is an easy group to play behind and so easy to read off of,” Talbot said of Wild’s defensemen. “It starts with the six guys in front of me but obviously the forwards are a big part of that also. We’ve got a great group of skilled, grit, shutdown guys up front. You mix that with your Top Six in back end and there’s not a ton for the goalie to do.”
His steady approach was also a key to his performance.
“I never try to get too high or too low,” Talbot said. ” I hope there’s no peaks and valleys in my season. If I can stay consistent and go out and give us a chance to win most nights then that’s what I’m looking for.
“I try to stay as even keel as possible and try to get that to carry over into my game night in and night out.”