For Talbot, Role Players Will be Role Players
Sometimes our expectations for certain players are unrealistic.
One season alone cannot be a measuring stick for a guy. Chances are that if we were to pick any player and search for his career stats, there would be at least one season that does not fit in with the rest.
It just happens. It could be due to the team he was on that season, the line he played on, something personal off the ice working as motivation, or any number of things.
For Maxime Talbot, that season was last season with the Flyers.
Talbot’s 19 goals were not the standard for his career, but they sure did give Flyers fans more of a reason to fall in love with him during his first season in Philadelphia. Unfortunately for Talbot, this may eventually cause fans and media members alike to question his production this season.
At this time, the Flyers as a whole are having trouble scoring which makes it even harder to pass any judgment on number 25. But it is still important to look at the reality of the situation.
Chances are that Talbot is not going to score very much this season. With a 48 game season, Talbot would be projected to score 11 goals when using last season as a basis. But 4 or 5 goals are certainly more likely.
The line combinations for the Flyers against Washington tell the whole story with Talbot on the 4th line. Talbot is a role player; he is not a 20 goal scorer. But at the end of the day, the Flyers are still extremely lucky to have him on their roster.
Every team needs a guy like Talbot. He can come through in the clutch with a goal (think 2009 Stanley Cup Finals against Detroit where Talbot scored both goals in the deciding Game 7), drop the gloves if needed, and hop over the bench and onto the ice to get some energy going with just one shift.
One of the most beloved Flyers of the past 10 years was Sami Kapanen.
Kapanen was a little guy with a lot of heart and could always be counted on to come through when no one else could. He played defense when the Flyers needed him to, he scored overtime winners, and he spent his last season on the 4th line receiving just as much love from the fans.
Fans want goals and they want a guy that scored 19 goals last season to score whatever the equivalent is this year with the shortened season, myself included.
But Talbot is not a goal scorer. Talbot is a role player, and role players are meant to be role players.
Take him away from that by putting big expectations on his back and placing him on a line with players being paid to score 20+ goals, and he becomes hurt by those unfair expectations.
Talbot is going to be one of the most important players on this Flyers team, but he is not going to be important for the number of goals he scores. He is going to be important for when he scores, when he hits, and when he fights.
With him, it’s the “when,” not the “how many.” And if we get into May and number 25 finds himself scoring a game winning goal or leads with a shift that turns a game around, no one is going to care how many goals he scored the previous four months.