Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin said earlier this year that there was, “no room for petty bull-” on the team.
Or no room for perhaps even challenging — or questioning — the front office.
Cam Talbot became the latest player to find that out.
Days after Talbot’s agent, George Balzos, had words with Guerin about the team giving Marc-Andre Fleury a two-year contract extension, the veteran goalie is on the move.
The Wild traded the 35-year-old – the team’s No. 1 starter for the majority of this past season – to Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon. In exchange the Wild received 24-year-old goalie, Filip Gustavsson, in return.
Talbot, who went 51-20-9 with a 2.71 goals against aveage in two seasons with Minnesota, reportedly was interested in a pay raise and contract extension from the Wild rather than a trade. But it seems the veteran wasn’t opposed to a fresh start either.
That was enough for Guerin. He chose the latter option.
Michael Russo, of The Athletic, spelled out why the decision was reached.
"While there was never a firm trade request and Guerin was adamant that Talbot was under contract and would be on the Wild next season, he admitted he had a change of heart and didn’t want the drama, the controversy and an unhappy player. The Wild also free an extra $2.879 million of cap space to give themselves $4.29 million heading into free agenc"
Guerin made his comment about no pettiness on the day the Wild traded for Fleury. And Talbot did not show any after the move, at least publicly, even after Fleury started the first five games of the opening round NHL playoff series with St. Louis.
The only hint of his unhappiness was his season-ending media session when he admitted that he was disappointed and pissed off by the decision.
That unhappiness of sharing a net with Fleury wasn’t going to go away either, especially when it seemed that Guerin and the front office had more confidence in the three-time Stanley Cup champion.
And the outcome is the Wild have moved on from a veteran goalie to one who appeared in 18 games with the Senators last season, made 16 starts and finished with a 5-12-1 record. He also recorded a 3.55 GAA and a .892 saves percentage. Gustavsson was selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft
The trade also addresses the Wild’s salary cap woes and it also makes one thing clear again.
As he demonstrated last offseason with the buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, Guerin is not afraid to move players he does not feel are no longer a good fit for the Wild. Or maybe those players who even challenge him.
And that is no bull.