Islander fans can breathe a sigh of relief as the team signed goaltender Jaroslav Halak to a 4-year $18 million contract yesterday afternoon, three weeks after acquiring his rights from the Washington Capitals.
General manager Garth Snow filled a huge need by locking up the 29-year-old goalie for the next four years. The signing crosses off a major need on the Islanders off-season wish list and the team will now look at getting a top-6 winger and a defenseman. Over an eight-year NHL career with the Canadians, Blues, Sabers, and Capitals, Halak has gone144-85-29, with a 2.38 goals-against average and a 9.18 save percentage. Halak is best known for taking the 8th seeded Montreal Canadians to the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2010 NHL playoffs.
Halak has spent most of his career splitting time with goaltenders such as Brian Elliot, and Braden Holtby so Halak must be thrilled to be a legitimate number 1 goaltender on Long Island.
Even though Garth Snow gets a lot of criticism, this was one of the best moves he has made in his tenure as the Islanders’ general manager. Snow did a great job getting Halak to sign for $18 million. Many speculated that Halak would cost the Islanders $25-30 million. Halak will be surrounded with a plethora of young talent which influenced his decision to come to Long Island. Shortly after his signing, Jaroslav Halak said, “I think this is a perfect fit. They have good young team who will only get better”. This shows that players around the NHL are realizing that the team has the pieces in place to be successful and hopefully make a playoff run next season.
Posting a winning season in every year of his career, Jaroslav Halak will definitely be the cornerstone goalie the Islanders have been searching for. Fans should expect the team to bring back last year’s starting goaltender, Evgeni Nabokov on a one-year deal to back-up Halak, in what should be a flurry of moves this offseason.