New York Islanders Garth Snow once again gets active by shipping less than stellar backup goalie Chad Johnson out of town for Michal Neuvirth.
Rejoice New York Islander fans, Garth Snow has struck again.
Yesterday he made a rather bold move in shipping off backup goalie Chad Johnson, along with a draft pick to the Buffalo Sabres for goalie Michal Neuvirth. This move comes as a very pleasant surprise to Islanders fans as it was predicted by many beat writers that Snow would more than likely stand pat during this years trade deadline.
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The move mostly serves as a bold one due to the fact they had inked Johnson to hold down the back up goalie duties on a 2 year $2.6 Million dollar deal. So it was widely assumed the Isles would stick with Johnson despite his lackluster numbers this season. Johnson goes to
Buffalo sporting a save percentage of .889 and a GAA of 3.08, which is a severe drop from the numbers he posted while he was a member of the Boston Bruins just last season. Neuvirth will come to the Islanders as an instant upgrade in net, with his save percentage of .918 and GAA if 2.99.
When looking at the numbers Neuvirth posted, keep it in perspective that he did this as a member of the Sabres who are easily one of the worst teams in hockey right now.
This move isn’t one that will drive fans to make their championship parade plans, but it is one that gives the Islanders a really strong tandem in net heading into the stretch run towards the playoffs. At times, Jarolsav Halak has been great for the Islanders this season and is near the top of the league in wins, as he has set franchise records this season.
Halak has endured a heavy workload due to the inconsistent play of Johnson, that no longer is a concern for the rest of the year. Neuvirth has a track record of solid play on thus far in his career and like Halak, has never really been afforded the chance to be the number one goalie.
Last season with Washington, he took starts away from Braden Holtby until a lower body injury saw his playing time with the Caps all but lost. Once young netminder Philipp Grubauer’s play proved that Neuvirth was expendable in Washington he was traded to the Sabres for Jaroslav Halak ironically.
There are a few concerns fans should be aware of with this trade however. Neuvirth is an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season and will more than likely be looking to sign on with a team that will give ample opportunity to prove himself as a legit number one option in the NHL.
He has a decent case for backing up that claim as he has a career save percentage of .913 and is only 26 years old. But if Snow can convince Neuvirth that his best option is to ride shotgun with Halak, They will be a great tandem for the isles to have a chance to win night in and out. Whether this move proves to be key remains to be seen. It also will be interesting to see if Neuvirth can take some starts from Halak or push him to regain his form that made him an all-star this season.
But one thing remains as a constant this season, In Garth We Trust.