Cam Talbot

Cam-tastic

We’re less than a week away from dropping the puck on the Rangers’ 85th season in the NHL. The league as a whole opens up Thursday at 12:00pm Eastern, when the Carolina Hurricanes and Minnesota Wild get things under way in Helsinki, Finland.

In our late Rangers Countdown profile for today, we stay closer to home and look at undrafted UFA signing Cameron Talbot.

Player Profile
Over the course of it’s ten year history, only a few players from the NCAA’s CHA conference to earn NHL contracts, and after Cam Talbot there’ll be no more. The league folded following the defection of three of the remaining four teams to other conferences, leaving Talbot’s Alabama-Huntsville Chargers as the only remaining team.

The Chargers will go the difficult route this year as an independent school, while Talbot will try and fashion himself a pro career down with the Hartford Wolf Pack.

Coming off a year in which he played 33 games, where his team never scored more than four goals, only making that mark on three occasions, you could say he’s used to adversity.

Backstopping his team to a 1-0 shutout over Robert Morris in the conference playoffs, and making 43 saves to help his team capture the championship in overtime against Niagara topped off a pretty successful season for the Ontario native.

The Rangers were happy to offer the undrafted UFA a contract after that performance, and now it’s up to Talbot to make the most of it. Not that that’s going to be a simple task.

With Henrik Lundqvist signed long term, Martin Biron set to back him up for the next two years, and Chad Johnson having made his NHL debut last season, Talbot enters the season as the 4th on the depth chart. Whether that translates into a spot in Hartford or down in Greenville, also remains to be seen.

Still the 22 year old netminder has plenty of time to make an impression, especially given Johnson’s own recent transition from the NCAA to the pro ranks.

2009-10 Statistics
Team: Alabama-Huntsville (CHA)
Stats: 12-18-3 2.61 Goals Against and .925 Save Percentage in 33 Games

Team: Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL)
Stats: 0-0-0 9.70 Goals Against and .727 Save Percentage in 1 Game

Prediction
Team: Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL)
Stats: 8-12-2 3.20 Goals Against and .890 Save Percentage in 28 Games

Team: Greenview Road Warriors (ECHL)
Stats: 10-10-2 3.50 Goals Against and .900 Save Percentage in 24 Games

Trivia
If Talbot makes it to the NHL, he’ll be just the second player to do so coming out of Alabama-Huntsville. If he plays two games, he’ll set the school record.

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