Better With Popcorn

Introducing: Max Talbot

The changing of the guard in Philadelphia continued on Friday as the beginning of the free agent signing period began.  One of the four deals signed on Friday included the addition of former foe Maxime Talbot. Talbot is probably most famous in Philadelphia for his fight with Dan Carcillo in Game 6 of the 2009 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, which saw Carcillo beat Talbot to a pulp. Following the fight, Talbot rose to his feet, placed a finger to his lips, and attempted to quiet the crowd. Following the bout, the Flyers blew a 3-0 lead that saw them lose the game and the series.

Max Talbot is a 27-year-old forward from LeMoyne, Quebec.  The Pittsburgh Penguins drafted him with the 234th overall pick in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. After spending two additional seasons with the Hull Olympiques (now of Gastineau) and one year with the baby Penguins of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Talbot made his NHL debut in 2005.

Last season saw Talbot score eight goals and register 13 assists for a total of 21 points. Of his eight goals, two of them gave the Penguins the lead and one tied the game. Of his 13 assists, ten of them where primary which directly facilitated the goal scorer. He averaged a little more than 15 minutes of ice time a game and for the first time in his career played in all 82 games last season. His career totals are 52 goals, 56 assists, and 108 points in 388 games played.

While Talbot’s offensive statistics may be underwhelming, it is clear that his strengths come in other phases of the game, most notably the penalty kill.  The Penguins penalty kill unit finished as the most successful in the league, killing off 86.1% of all penalties taken. Talbot averaged 2.55 minutes on that unit, the second-most of any Penguins’ forward. If Talbot had played for the Flyers last season, he would have averaged the third-most short-handed minutes of any forward, edging out Mike Richards (2.08 average) and Claude Giroux (2.06 average). 

In 240 minutes of total short-handed ice time, Talbot was on the ice for only 17 goals against. By comparison with the chart below, it’s easy to see that Talbot’s numbers stack up with the best of last year’s Flyers’ penalty kill unit. Talbot should be able to plug in nicely with either Giroux or Blair Betts as a prominent penalty killer in the 2011-12 season.   

 

 

TOTAL SH TIME

SH AVG.

SHGA*

BETTS

271.46

3.37

26

POWE

257.16

3.10

23

TALBOT

239.50

2.55

17

RICHARDS

173.31

2.08

24

GIROUX

172.43

2.06

17

*Shorthanded Goals Against

Physicality is a huge dynamic of Talbot’s all-around game. Last season Talbot registered 154 hits against 66 penalty minutes. By comparison, Scott Hartnell registered 168 hits against 142 penalty minutes. His 66 penalty minutes display that he is physical but not at the price of being stupid. Talbot only took 18 minor penalties last season compared to Hartnell’s 35. Talbot only had four major penalties and one misconduct compared to Hartnells’ six major penalties and four misconducts.  Since 2007-08 Talbot has continually lowered his minor penalty minutes, which displays that he is learning to play a tough style of hockey without catching the attention of the zebras.

Talbot is certainly one of those guys that you could describe as someone you love to root for, but hate to play against. With the loss of Darroll Powe this season, Talbot will have to fill a role that he is plenty capable of handling. It may be strange for fans to learn to root for a player that they have grown to despise over the years, but Talbot’s hard-nosed style of hockey should be easily embraced by the Philadelphia faithful.

While some fans may question moving Powe and seemingly replacing him with Talbot, it’s important to analyze the dynamics of each player. Powe does edge out Talbot in some statistical categories, but Talbot is only one year older than Powe, produces more offensively, and most importantly owns a Stanley Cup ring. For an organization like the Flyers that is looking to mold a young club into a character driven team based on toughness, Talbot will be an important voice in a young locker room. 

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4 Comments

Chuck Gaston Jr's picture

In all seriousness you are getting a fantastic locker room guy, a great penalty killer, and a textbook agitator. His production has dropped since his surgeries but he can still play a role that all teams need when the playoffs come around.

Adam Pardes's picture

Very happy to have Talbot as a Flyer. Felt weird to admit I wanted the team to go after him once he was a free agent, but he's got plenty of grit and heart.

George Prax's picture

Really wanted Talbot on the Habs. Great team guy, shit disturber and good checking forward. Flyers fans are going to love him. Great signing even if the term is a little high (in terms of years).