Talbot or Lundqvist? AV hasn’t said yet (Update: looks like Talbot)


From Larry Brooks of the New York Post, ahead of tonight’s Rangers-Jets game at MSG, for which Blueshirts coach Alain Vigneault has yet to announce his starting goalie:

If it’s Henrik Lundqvist, it is dog bites man. If, however, it is [Cam] Talbot again, it becomes man bites dog in a Rangers’ universe in which The King has not sat for consecutive games when healthy since Feb. 5-7, 2011.

Talbot has been very good this season — in fact, Brooks calls the 26-year-old out of the University of Alabama in Huntsville a “revelation” — with a 6-1-0 record and .944 save percentage.

Lundqvist, meanwhile — the goalie many consider the best in the world, not to mention the one who can become an unrestricted free agent this summer — has been good, but not great, with a .917 save percentage in 19 starts.

“I know who I’m going with [but] I haven’t talked to the goaltenders yet,” Vigneault said Saturday, per the Post.

From the outside looking in, there’s no real controversy here. Lundqvist’s body of work as an NHL goalie (524 career starts) isn’t even comparable to Talbot’s (7 career starts). But if Talbot gets the nod tonight, it will still be the major topic of conversation around the team.

We’ll give the last word to Brooks:

You know, I can’t think of an analogous situation in the NHL where a team’s most valuable player has had this much trouble getting a new deal. Marquee guys get taken care of — and relatively quickly. This one seems odd. It has from the start that didn’t start nearly as early as it should have.

This isn’t offered as an excuse for Lundqvist, who not only has never sought one, but has held himself accountable all season. But there’s no one around who doesn’t wonder whether the contract — or lack thereof after this season—is playing a role in the goaltender’s uncharacteristic inconsistency.

Update: Literally right when we pressed publish on this post, Talbot left the morning skate first, a strong indication he’ll start tonight.

After PTO, Upshall signs one-year deal with Blues

Florida Panthers v Ottawa Senators
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Scottie Upshall has parlayed his training camp tryout into a contract with St. Louis.

On Monday, the Blues agreed to a one-year, two-way deal with the veteran forward, worth $700,000 at the NHL level. The deal comes after Upshall spent all of training camp and the preseason impressing the Blues his speed and skating ability, no small feat for a 31-year-old veteran with over 500 NHL games on his odometer.

But where Upshall fits in the Blues lineup — and within the organization — remains to be seen.

The club has plenty of depth up front and Upshall isn’t coming off a terrific campaign, having scored just eight goals and 15 points in 63 games with Florida last season. That said, he showed enough to be just one of a handful of veterans on PTOs to score a contract.

Panthers’ Crouse is going back to junior

2015 NHL Draft - Round One
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Lawson Crouse is going back to junior. The big 18-year-old winger confirmed it today on Twitter.

Crouse was drafted 11th overall in June by the Florida Panthers. Despite the club’s belief that Crouse could make “an immediate impact” on the roster, he finished the preseason with just two shots and one assist in three games.

Crouse will return to the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs, with whom he’ll look to improve on his modest point totals from last season.

“I don’t think there’s any pressure on the kid,” coach Gerard Gallant said last week. “If he doesn’t make the team this year he goes back to junior … and will have a lot of success.”