Minnesota Wild goaltender Cam Talbot doesn’t like to cede the crease to anyone. As far as he’s concerned, the more he plays, the better he gets.

But at age 34, he has learned that sometimes less is more. Especially in the preseason.

“You ask me that 7 or 8 years ago, I would have answered it differently,” said Talbot, entering his ninth season in the NHL. “Now it’s more of a buildup for me to manage my workload and stuff like that until it really counts. Obviously I want to feel as good as possible going into the season opener.”

With the Oct. 15 opener against the Anaheim Ducks rapidly approaching, Talbot was set for his first taste of the preseason Thursday night against the Colorado Avalanche. According to coach Dean Evason, the plan was for Talbot to play the first half of the game with fellow goaltender Andrew Hammond getting the second half.

This is the first step for Talbot as he tries to build off his performance from last season. He finished with a 19-8-5 record, a 2.63 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage. He also helped the Wild push the Vegas Golden Knights to a Game 7 in the opening round of the playoffs.

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Asked for his take on the preseason, Talbot lauded the coaching staff for being open and honest with him.

“They kind of let me give them a guideline of how much I want to play and stuff like that.,” Talbot said. “It’s always nice when I know going into training camp and preseason how to manage my workloads both on and off the ice. They’ve been great. It’s nice to be able to ramp it up here and get some game time.”

Young guys

Thursday’s preseason game in Colorado offered a big opportunity for young players like Matt Boldy and Adam Beckman. Both have turned heads throughout training camp and appear to be neck and neck in the race for the final roster spot.

Looking specifically at Boldy, he was set to play alongside Freddy Gaudreau and opposite Kevin Fiala. Meanwhile, Beckman was set to play alongside Joel Eriksson Ek and opposite Mats Zuccarello.

“This is a time where we expect people to start separating and making decisions for us difficult and/or easy by what they do and how they dictate play in games,” Evason said. “It’s one thing to evaluate practice. Even when we’re scrimmaging, it’s tough, right? Yeah, they look good, and he shoots the puck really well, and he’s skating really well. But we don’t know until we get into a game. We try to get most of our real evaluations from the hockey games.”

Greenway ill

Wild winger Jordan Greenway was supposed to make the trip to Denver for Thursday’s game, but he stayed home to recover from a minor sickness.

Asked about the decision to leave Greenway at home, Evason responded, “Just precaution.” He added that Greenway’s sickness is not COVID related.

“As soon as we hear it, it’s like, ‘Ah jeez. Here we go,’ ” Evason said. “Because we’ve been through it, right? We’ve been there and done that. You never know what’s going to happen. But obviously we don’t believe this is out of the ordinary.”