The Los Angeles Kings don’t have much room to maneuver in the free-agent market but appear to have lined up two veterans to bolster their roster.
According to Kevin Weeks, the Kings are closing in on a one-year deal for veteran goalie Cam Talbot.
**Breaking News** 🚨 📰
I’m told per sources, G Cam Talbot to sign a 1 Yr Contract with the @LAKings . @espn @NHL @NHLNetwork @TSNHockey @DKSportsbook #HockeyTwitter pic.twitter.com/Fe1EEhGRkQ
— Kevin Weekes (@KevinWeekes) July 1, 2023
Elliott Freidman also reported that the Kings are looking at a potential return for veteran forward Trevor Lewis.
These are uninspiring deals, but ones that make sense for Los Angeles.
An over-35 goalie always made sense for the Kings. The can give him an incentive-based contract with a lower base salary to keep the cap hit down, and if the incentives push them over the cap, it rolls over into next season.
Talbot is coming off a mediocre, at best, season with the Ottawa Senators. He posted a .898 save percentage and -5.5 goals saved above expected.
One thing that might leave the Kings confident in Talbot re-igniting his career in Los Angeles is hit past success with Todd McLellan.
Talbot’s best season, where he finished fourth in Vezina voting, came under McLellan with the Edmonton Oilers. Of course, that was six years ago and he’s never replicated anything close to that performance.
Talbot’s also posted good numbers in the playoffs with a .921 career save percentage and 4.9 goals saved above expected in the postseason.
I expect the Kings to run a true tandem this season, with Talbot and Pheonix Copley playing an even share of the game. They’ll have to figure out who the starter is down the stretch or figure out a deadline trade to bring in a true starter, but this should get them through the season.
This move comes largely out of the cap-strapped Kings’ inability to sign anyone who would carry a bigger contract but also shows some confidence in Copley. I don’t think they expect him to be a Vezina candidate. But they clearly think he can continue to win games in the NHL.
Don’t be surprised to see the Kings sign another more veteran goalie to play in the AHL with Erik Portillo. Like Copley last season, they’ll want someone with NHL experience they can call up if there’s an injury or things go south with Copley or Talbot.
Frankly, my first thought when seeing this rumor was, “Why?” Lewis hasn’t posted good numbers since leaving the Kings after the 2019 season and is only getting older.
The more I think about it though, it would be a fine signing. It’s not going to be a game-changer, but it’s fine.
Lewis knows the organization, knows what it takes to win and can serve as a solid 13th forward.
If he’s viewed as anything but an extra forward, there could be some issues.
The Kings already have a good group of leaders and a great locker room culture, but it never hurts to add more of that into the organization.