As the Islanders’ coaches, scouts and management continue to judge players and make decisions during this intriguing NHL training camp, keep it here at Eyes on Isles as we take a look at individuals who need to make or brake the team. Whether it be prospects looking for their first chance or veterans trying to stick with the team, there are a lot of Islanders players who will be facing battles for spots.
Today let’s look at projected third string goalie Kevin Poulin.
Poulin has been recalled and demoted from Bridgeport numerous times since he turned pro in 2010. This is because he mainly served as the replacement for former oft-injured goalie Rick DiPietro. In 2013, Poulin was finally promoted to the Islanders’ backup after the team placed DiPietro on waivers. after a five game stint in that regular season, Poulin replaced starter Evgeny Nabokov in a couple games during the playoffs and played excellent. He was then named the backup goalie for next season after that successful campaign.
Poulin, however, struggled in 28 games with the Islanders in 2013-14. He posted an abysmal .891 save percentage and was subsequently demoted to Bridgeport and Anders Nilsson took his place. Prior to last season, the Islanders brought in Jaro Halak and Chad Johnson and Poulin was named the starter in Bridgeport once again.
Last season was pretty average for Poulin. He had a 2.87 goals against average and a .912 save percentage with Bridgeport while playing 45 games. Going into training camp this year, competition in net for the Islanders has become even tougher. Thomas Greiss was brought in for stability in the backup spot. He is the odds-on favorite to beat out Poulin for that spot. However, Poulin may also be nervous about newly-acquired Chris Gibson breathing down his neck. The former Toronto Marlies starter goalie was a former second round pick who has an upside. If he has an excellent training camp, he could beat out Poulin for the starter’s job in Bridgeport.
The Islanders now have two decent third-string goalies in Poulin and Gibson, which could come in handy. Remember last season the Ottawa Senators had to use Andrew Hammond and Chris Driedger, but still managed to make the playoffs.