Today the New York Islanders acquired the rights to pending unrestricted free agent goaltender Jaroslav Halak from the Washington Capitals for a 4th round pick in the upcoming NHL draft. This move came as a surprise to many as the Islanders were expected to make a move for a goaltender at the upcoming draft. Halak,who will turn 29 next season has a respectable resume thus far in his 8 year career having appeared in 272 NHL regular season games and sports a career .918 save percentage. He also comes with playoff experience as well having appeared 23 playoff games for Montreal, St.Louis and has a 10-11 record with a .923 save percentage.
It’s being widely speculated that there were very brief talks between the Islanders and Halak after the trade was made. It has also been speculated that there is interest from Jaroslav Halak in signing a long term contract in order to stay with the Islanders. This kind of move is one that sends a good sign to the Islanders faithful as it shows that Garth Snow is aware of the glaring weaknesses of his team. it also gives hope that he will be proactive at the upcoming draft in making more moves to improve the roster. As far as Halak is concerned, there is a strong chance he will get a very nice deal from the Islanders as he is near the top of the class of upcoming free agent netminders.
It would be nice to see Halak get a team friendly deal that would solidify the goaltending dilemma that has plagued Long Island for countless seasons. Signing Halak long-term also signals the end of the Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson conundrum as well. Poulin, who came into this season as the back up to an aging Evgeni Nabakov and struggled to find consistency in his game when he saw extended playing time after Nabakov went down with a groin injury. His counterpart, Anders Nilsson didn’t exactly fare much better in his appearances either. Whether Garth Snow can get a deal done with Jaroslav Halak remains to be seen but as for now it was a solid move by the embattled GM. Now we play the waiting game and see what Snow does with the ball firmly in his court.