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(Cam Talbot, via NHL.com)

Hockey

Flyers interested in Edmonton’s Cam Talbot

With the February 23rd deadline quickly approaching, the Philadelphia Flyers have their first legitimate rumor in trade talks: Cam Talbot.

He’s not exactly who we thought the Flyers would target, especially with Carter Hart, Anthony Stolarz and Brian Elliott all playing. Talbot would be an upgrade over Stolarz and Elliott is in the midst of his AHL conditioning stint.

While his numbers aren’t amazing, the Oilers need to clear his cap hit for the return of Andrej Sekera. Chuck Fletcher can use that to his advantage. The Oilers likely would send Talbot plus an extra asset or so for a package involving Elliott or Wayne Simmonds.

As part of the human aspect, Hart trains with Talbot in the offseason. They’re friendly off the ice, with his junior team (Everett) out west with Talbot’s Edmonton.

The 31 year old goaltender has an .893 save percentage in 29 starts, 31 games in all. Those aren’t sparkling statistics, especially next to Elliott’s. Per CapFriendly, Talbot comes with a $4.2 million salary on an expiring contract and must submit a ten team list of who he’ll accept a move to.

Regarding Wayne Simmonds, Fletcher reiterated that the team’s hot streak hasn’t changed his course. The plan remains the same: sign Simmonds by the deadline, or trade him.

Unfortunately, it does seem the latter is inevitable. However, news of Brian Boyle returning a second round pick to New Jersey is great for Simmonds’ market price.

A team looking to bolster their power-play paid a relatively high pick for a bottom-six center. Simmonds’ reputation as one of the best power-play presences in the NHL should now carry a first round price tag.

Wiggling his way into trade rumors via panic is Shayne Gostisbehere. His play hasn’t matched expectations, but he’s a leader and the top puck-moving defender the Flyers have had in years.

Most can agree, it would be a bit of a premature send-off for a 25 year old who finished top-10 in Norris voting and was the Calder trophy runner-up. A 65 point defenseman is a bit of a rarity, especially at his age. Don’t forget about his low cap-hit, with years of team control remaining on the deal.

The only way Ghost sees the door is if it’s a no-brainer deal for a truly elite player. With Peter Chiarelli out of office, Flyers fans shouldn’t have to worry about losing him. That isn’t to say it’s impossible, though— Claude Giroux is the only “untouchable”.

There’s a distinct possibility that trades are being held up in waiting for the big three to be decided on: Mark Stone, Matt Duchene and Artemi Panarin. Any one of those three are worth massive price tags if their teams decide not to pursue extensions. They’d certainly move the needle on any contender.

With each day, the rentals get more expensive, with a possible exception of Panarin. He could actually be a depreciating asset considering his almost certain departure from Columbus, and unless they’re shooting for a Cup now, he should be traded sooner rather than later.

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