VOORHEES, N.J. — The timing couldn’t have been better for Cam Talbot to come to Philadelphia.
Then again, it also couldn’t have been worse.
The 31-year-old workhorse was no longer the lead pony in Edmonton and was bracing for a change of scenery. It came sooner than expected when the Flyers were willing to swap out Anthony Stolarz for Talbot. He even waived his no-trade clause to make the deal happen.
What hasn’t happened has been a sufficient amount of playing time. Talbot has seen action in just two games since the trade on Feb. 16. If it wasn’t for an injury to Carter Hart, who knows if Talbot would have seen any playing time at all.
“It’s not exactly what I had envisioned when I got here, but when the other two guys are playing as well as they have been, you have to just sit back and wait for your chance,” Talbot said. “I’m just coming to the rink every day, working hard and waiting for my opportunity.”
Now that we’re entering the final week of the regular season, the Flyers could see a heavy dose of Talbot once the Flyers are officially eliminated from playoff contention — which could come as early as Wednesday with a regulation loss to the Maple Leafs coupled with a Canadiens regulation win on Tuesday.
Scott Gordon says Carter Hart will get the nod for Wednesday’s game against the Maple Leafs, but Talbot could earn “at least two, maybe three” starts beginning with this weekend’s back-to-back against the Hurricanes and the Rangers.
The Flyers interim head coach even felt the need to meet with Talbot recently regarding the unique state of affairs that have led to his current situation, where Talbot has seen just 93 minutes of action in two games with his new team.
“I talked to him about the circumstances of coming here, the delay of getting here with the visa issues didn’t allow him to practice for a week,” Gordon said. “Didn’t expect that Brian would come back and play. Those could have been situations had he been here he may have jumped in there and played those two games that Carter came out of, and then maybe he’s playing that next start in the outdoor game.”
But it hasn’t worked out that way at all, and Talbot can only ask repeatedly the “What’s next?” question.
So far, there has been no movement towards a new contract for the free-agent-to-be goaltender, but between extended practices, Talbot has had a chance to get acclimated even more with the city, the organization and his teammates.
“It makes you want to come back a little bit more,” Talbot said. “Obviously, I would have loved to play some games here down the stretch, but the organization has been first class. The guys in the room have been great with me and they seem like a great group of guys. It seems like a great group moving forward and I’d still like that opportunity if they’re looking for that.”
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