Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The New York Islanders have potentially filled a huge need in goal by acquiring the negotiating rights to Jaroslav Halak from the Washington Capitals for a 4th round pick. If the Islanders can reach a deal with the Slovakian goaltender it would be a huge get for the team. Even if the Islanders sign Halak there is still the question of who will be the teams’ backup goaltender? Here are some options the Islanders may look at.
New York Islanders Goaltender Options
Evgeni Nabokov: The New York Islanders starting goaltender this season had a down year with a 15-14-8 record, .905 save percentage and a 2.74 goals against average while playing in only 40 games for the Islanders due to injuries. Nabokov will be 39 by the time next season rolls around and he is an unrestricted free agent. Nabokov is a great locker room presence and was a key part of the playoff run a season ago, but can the Islanders rely on him to play when needed? If Nabokov is not re-signed the Islanders may have to rely on Kevin Poulin who is coming off an average season at best.
Al Montoya: The former Islander, and current Winnipeg Jets goaltender would be a nice option for the Islanders this summer. Montoya had a decent stat line, going 13-8-3 with a 2.30 goal against average and a .920 save percentage. Montoya also won’t require a big paycheck this summer.
Chad Johnson: The 27 year-old Bruins backup goalie may be an option for the Islanders to consider this offseason. Johnson was terrific in his 24 games this season going 17-4-3 with a 2.10 goals against average and a .925 save percentage. Johnson may be a cheap option this summer but can the New York Islanders rely on him to repeat his success?
James Reimer: Reimer would be the perfect option for the Islanders to back up Jaroslav Halak. Reimer’s price may be affordable because teams know he does not want to be back in Toronto. Reimer is a restricted free agent so a draft day trade would be the most likely scenario in which the Islanders can land him. The Islanders have a plethora of draft picks that are tradable so hopefully Garth Snow can use a draft pick to land the talented 26-year-old goalie.
Yes, before the New York Islanders start looking into a backup goaltender the team needs to lock-up Jaroslav Halak. There is a real good chance the Islanders are able to sign him due to the fact that they have what he wants, money and a starting job. The Islanders have many options to look at for the back-up job if Halak is signed. I would love to see Evgeni Nabokov back, but can he really be relied on when needed? The New York Islanders may want to look at a young option like Reimer, Johnson or Montoya.
With the potential signing of Halak and many quality back-up options, the Islanders will have many decisions to make with both their starting and back-up goaltenders this off-season.