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When the regular season ended and the free agency class began to take shape, you could be forgiven if you chuckled at the possibility of the Calgary Flames signing Cam Talbot and the Edmonton Oilers signing Mike Smith. Neither guy set the world on fire in their prior spots, so switching spots would be pretty wacky.

Well, it looks like that’s actually happening.

Smith turned 37 in March and had a rough go of things in Calgary following a lower body injury he suffered in mid-February 2018. That led to him losing the starting job to backup David Rittich, who cemented himself in that job with a strong first half of the 2018-19 season before suffering a knee injury on Dec. 31 that he valiantly tried to work through.

As also reported by our pal Pat Steinberg, Rittich will be goaltending buddies with Talbot. Talbot is five years younger than Smith – he turns 32 on July 5 – and doesn’t really have the same mileage on his body that Smith has. We’ll dig into Talbot’s underlyings in more detail in the coming days, but he’s going from playing on a fairly defensively porous team to playing on one with several promising young players and the reigning Norris Trophy winner so it’s reasonable to hope that his numbers will bounce back from his rough final season split between Edmonton and the Philadelphia Flyers. Talbot is technically Flyers property, but he was Edmonton’s big foundational goaltending acquisition several seasons back while the Flames went with a series of half-measures in net.

Per Steinberg, the cap hit for Talbot is expected to be around $2.5 million for the 2019-20 season.

While the Flames and Oilers aren’t actually trading their netminders so to speak, this free agent swap might be the first wacky shoe to drop in what could be a pretty interesting opening to the free agent season in the National Hockey League.


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