MONTREAL — The Flyers have had so many goaltending trios over the past 12 months that looking at a locker room with Brian Elliott sitting next to Cam Talbot sitting next to Carter Hart shouldn’t seem bizarre at all.
But somehow it is.
If you thought the goaltending position was complex before, there’s a lot to untangle moving forward, especially when you look at the makeup of each netminder.
Hart was drafted three years ago, Elliott signed here two years ago and Talbot was traded here nearly a week ago. Unlike some of the previous combinations we’ve seen from the Flyers in the past, all three goalies believe they’re still capable of being a No. 1.
Talbot and Elliott combined have over 700 NHL regular-season games played, excluding the postseason, and now they’re forced to take a backseat to a red-hot Hart, who will continue with his heavy workload unless the Flyers tail off in the standings.
Talbot was the last one off the ice following Thursday’s morning skate in Montreal and needed “a bagger,” as he referred to it, after doing very little since learning of his trade to the Flyers last Friday.
“I heard this was a great group of guys and they’re obviously on a bit of a hot streak right now,” Talbot said. “So, I just want to come in and try not to mess with the chemistry in here.”
There simply are not enough nets and games to go around for this new-look three-headed monster, and who knows how it plays out moving forward.
“I don’t know those details, ins and outs,” Elliott said. “You just have to come here with a smile on your face and ready to play when called upon. I’ll never turn down a start. It’s a coach’s decision. I’m available and I just want to help the guys.”
Elliott will back up Hart for Thursday’s game against Montreal and likely Saturday’s outdoor game at Lincoln Financial Field, but after that, who knows where it all goes with the trade deadline on Monday.
You have to believe general manager Chuck Fletcher would like to find a playoff-bound team that could use a veteran goaltender like Elliott, but the 33-year-old's injury history could scare a handful of teams away.
Fletcher also needs to evaluate Talbot moving forward and determine if he’s the goaltender who solidified the Oilers' net from 2015-17, which included Edmonton’s only playoff appearance in the past 13 years, or if he’s the player that has seen his play take a tailspin over the past 18 months.
Even Talbot would like to figure that part out.
“That’s a hard question to answer,” Talbot said. “Anytime your numbers slip like that, you always look internally. I’m never looking at anything else. I’m always looking at what I can do different on a given night. I’m not the kind of guy to place blame on anything else but myself. I just have to find that confidence again and hopefully I can do it behind this group.”
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