"The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work." - Harry Golden
Season stats: 45gp, 2g, 5a, 7p, -9, 30 PIMs
Playoff stats: 13gp, 2g, 4a, 6p, +1, 11 PIMs
Month-by-month Pensburgh grades:
Contract Status: Signed through 2010-2011 ($1.05 million cap hit). Becomes a restricted free agent in the summer of 2011.
Interesting Stat: Among all Penguins who played at least 20 regular season games this year, Talbot had the best GA/60 while killing penalties.
The Good: Talbot saw 2:06 minutes of shorthanded ice time per game, good for 9th on the team. And while on the penalty kill, he had the best adjusted +/- rating of any Penguins player. Furthermore, he wasn't afraid to use his body, even though he was fighting injuries, as he was credited with 77 hits this year, good for 11th on the team.
The Not-so-good: Talbot never seemed to make a full comeback this year. In about 450 minutes of even strength ice time, Talbot only managed to collect seven points, and his 41.2% faceoff winning percentage is fifth out of the six Penguins players who took at least 100 draws this year. Talbot also had the third worst relative Corsi on the team, indicating that he spent most of his time defending in his own zone.
Adding some context to the picture doesn't provide much relief: Talbot had the worst even strength adjusted +/- (-1.50) among Penguins players who started at least 20 games this year, and he was playing against some of the easiest competition (only Eric Godard and Craig Adams had it easier).
Final Verdict: Talbot had a rough year. He battled through some nasty injuries and might never have been at 100%. On top of that, the coaches might not have been clear as to what role he was to play on the team. Is he a 4th line grinder who plays tough minutes, or a top six forward who is supposed to pot 25-30 goals alongside Evgeni Malkin? Entering the 2010 season fully healthy and with a new perspective will probably help Talbot return to the player we all loved in 2009.
Questions and Discussion: Do you think Talbot will regain his form and become an impact player for the Penguins next year? Does he have the skill and ability to be a top six forward on the team?