Cam Talbot is excited and looking forward to stepping into a lineup with a young core and some splashy new additions.
But what Talbot doesn't feel is animosity after the Wild traded him to Ottawa, a line in the sand that resolved the cliffhanger that had become the Wild's goaltending situation.
"I didn't really want to be moved," Talbot told reporters on Thursday. "It played out in the media that maybe I had some ill will toward the organization or something like that. It wasn't like that at all."
Their split wasn't formalized until Tuesday, with the Wild receiving goalie Filip Gustavsson from the Senators, but uncertainty between the Wild and Talbot had been percolating.
He and Marc-Andre Fleury shared the net after Fleury arrived at the March 21 trade deadline, a mostly consistent rotation that had the Wild rolling into the playoffs on a league-best 17-2-3 run. But Fleury, the three-time Stanley Cup champion, started the first five games of the playoffs against St. Louis before Talbot took over in what ended up being a season-ending Game 6 loss.
Afterward, Talbot expressed his disappointment in not playing more against the Blues and made it clear he was upset by the decision even though he understood it.
With one season left on his three-year, $11 million contract, the 35-year-old said he wanted to stick around and expected to, but the likelihood of that return came into question after the Wild brought back Fleury on a two-year, $7 million contract.
Although General Manager Bill Guerin planned to utilize both goalies, he chose to avoid an "awkward" dynamic that could interrupt the team by ultimately cutting ties with Talbot.
"There's only room in the net for one guy," Talbot said. "I think bringing in Marc-Andre, we had a great relationship last year and it could've been another good situation moving forward. But I think that's between myself and Billy and everyone else. We had some conversations, and both sides kind of felt like this might be best."
Even before this outcome, Talbot had a memorable tenure with the Wild in the works.
Not only did he re-emerge as a No. 1 after a rough patch, but Talbot also was a solid 51-20-9 with a 2.71 goals-against average and .913 save percentage. He was named to the All-Star Game last season and earned his 200th career victory — all while creating what he described as lifelong friendships.
"They gave me an opportunity to be a starting goalie again in the league, and I can't thank them enough," said Talbot, who joins the likes of prized free agent Claude Giroux and 40-goal scorer Alex DeBrincat as new faces in Ottawa's rebuild. "They put a lot of trust in me over the last two years, and we went out and had one of the best seasons in Minnesota Wild history. So, I'll never forget my time there. I'll cherish it."
Talbot, however, isn't the only one to get a fresh start.
Gustavsson will back up Fleury after spending four years in the Senators organization following a trade from the Penguins, who drafted him in the second round in 2016. He'll wear No. 32 with the Wild.
Most recently, Gustavsson roved between the NHL and American Hockey League and the 24-year-old feels he can unlock better consistency in his game. After going 5-1-2 with a .933 save percentage in his debut with Ottawa, Gustavsson was 5-12-1 last season.
"Coming to a new team, it's going to make yourself be more on the edge and try and push yourself even further in your career," Gustavsson said from his native Sweden.
Then there's also the opportunity to work alongside a future Hall of Famer in Fleury, what Gustavsson referred to as a "big honor."
"Such an experienced guy with so much success in his career," he said. "Just be able to talk with him and practice with him and see him learn is going to help me a lot."