Edmonton Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot spent the past two seasons with the New York Rangers backing up Henrik Lundqvist, knowing full well starts would probably be few and far between.
But with the Rangers up against the NHL salary cap, Talbot was traded to the Oilers on June 27 for the 57th, 79th and 184th picks at the 2015 NHL Draft. Talbot played more last season after Lundqvist sustained a vascular injury.
"Getting to play behind a guy like [Henrik], you learn a lot and you get to see what it takes to be a No. 1 [goalie] in this League," Talbot said Tuesday at the Oilers Hockey School. "I took away a lot from watching him and being able to work with [Rangers goalie coach] Benoit Allaire in New York.
"It's going to be a great opportunity for me here, to be able to come in and work with a good young group of guys and obviously a group that's headed in the right direction. I'm happy to be a part of it."
Talbot, who went 21-9-4 with a 2.21 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage last season, said Lundqvist sent him a text message from Sweden when he learned of the trade to congratulate him on the opportunity to be a starting goaltender.
"He was happy for me," Talbot said. "That meant a lot, coming from him."
Talbot, who turned 28 on July 5, has played 57 NHL games. He will compete against Ben Scrivens and Anders Nilsson for the Oilers' starting job. Scrivens had a 3.16 GAA and .890 save percentage in 57 games for the Oilers last season; Nilsson was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks on July 6 after playing in the Kontinental Hockey League last season.
"I hope I'm in the battle for the No. 1 job," Talbot said. "Nothing is ever set in stone. I'm coming in here and I'm prepared to battle it out. Obviously Ben and Anders are really good goalies as well, so it's going to be a battle in the crease and I'm ready for the competition."
Talbot won't be the only newcomer in Edmonton this season. After winning the NHL Draft Lottery in April, the Oilers used the No. 1 pick on center Connor McDavid, who had 120 points (44 goals, 76 assists) in 47 games for the Erie Otters in the Ontario Hockey League last season.
"It's definitely an exciting time for this organization to get a generational player like everyone's been saying like Connor," Talbot said. "It's great for the city, it's great for the organization. I'm happy to be here and be a part of the transition."