One of the National Hockey League's most intense rivalries has just gotten a bizarre makeover.
Earlier today we reported on the rumor that veteran goaltender Cam Talbot would be crossing enemy lines by leaving the Edmonton Oilers organization as an unrestricted free agent and joining the ranks of they Calgary Flames. It was a surprising rumor given the hatred between these two teams, matches between the two are refereed to as "The Battle of Alberta" and it has just gotten even more bizarre.
Although the news regarding Talbot's signing in Calgary has still not yet been made official, TSN National Hockey League insider Frank Seravalli has all but confirmed the news by dropping another big surprise on us this week end. According to Seravalli it now sounds like current Calgary Flames goaltender Mike Smith will also be crossing enemy lines, with Seravalli reporting that Smith has "chosen the Oilers." There was no speculation from Seravalli here the wording makes it clear that Smith is already the next member of the Edmonton Oilers.
What this means is that 2 organizations that have no love for one another have now just effectively swapped goaltenders. For Talbot and Smith it will be a chance at a fresh start on a new team, both men struggled at times last season, and a chance to see the Battle of Alberta from the other end of the ice. In spite of Smith's struggles though it seems as if he has managed to earn himself a fairly lucrative contract from general manager Ken Holland.
Holland has reportedly signed Smith to a deal that will pay him a base salary of $2 million, but one that could also see him earn as much as an additional $2 million in performance bonuses. If Smith only gets his base salary this deal looks fine, however should he reach his objectives Cam Talbot's deal of $2.5 million per season may end up quickly looking much more palatable down the road.