NY Islanders News

Five Burning Questions : New York Islanders

By Andy Graziano
2 of 6

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

1. Who emerges as the responsible backup goaltender to keep incumbent starter Evgeni Nabokov fresh?

We all bore witness to what happened last season in the first round elimination to the Penguins. Nabokov struggled to keep up his excellent play during the stretch run and surrendered three goals or more in each start, finishing with an .842 save percentage for the series.

We all know the likable 38 year old goaltender who has a knack for making legend Stan Fischler chuckle is a good goaltender, as his career statistics of 335 wins, 2.41 GAA and .912 save percentage can certainly attest to.

But it was clear he fatigued with all the high intensity hockey the team played over the last two months to make the post-season dance. What is needed is a capable backup to take 20-30 starts and keep Nabokov’s body fresh and energized for the playoffs.

Which will it be out of the 23 year old duo of Kevin Poulin or Anders Nilsson however? One of them has to step up and prove themselves as legitimate NHL goaltenders or the Isles might suffer the same fate and be looking to the free agent market during the summer of 2014 to address the sure to come need of a bona-fide #1 starter. In very brief stints in the NHL, Nilsson has shown flashes of brilliance but the reality is Isles fans and the organization just do not know definitively what they have or don’t have in the big Swedish netminder.