Editorials

New York Islanders Player Grades: Jaroslav Halak

Dec 2, 2015; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) saves a shot by New York Rangers left wing Rick Nash (61) during the shoot out at Barclays Center. The Islanders defeated the Rangers 2-1 in a shoot out. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 2, 2015; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) saves a shot by New York Rangers left wing Rick Nash (61) during the shoot out at Barclays Center. The Islanders defeated the Rangers 2-1 in a shoot out. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /
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New York Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak’s 2015-16 could be defined as “injured”. But it was much more than that for the 31-year-old Slovak. Injury aside he had a fairly good year.

When the New York Islanders brought in Jaroslav Halak from Washington in 2014 they did so with the clear intention of making him the team’s starting goaltender. And for much of his tenure, including this season Halak has proven to be an adequate starter.

In 2015-16 Halak played a total of 36 games and had a .919 SV% and a 2.30 GAA, which is above his NHL average of .917 SV% and a 2.38 GAA. With that alone it would seem like his season was a success.

In those 36 games, Halak had a winning record of 18-13-4. He also had an above average GSAA rating of 3.78, which is the number of goals saved over the league average and a lower than average goals against percentage of 95%.

All of those numbers indicate that Halak had a good year. He had a winning record and was above average in most numerical indicators.

Halak’s Numbers Don’t Lie

Statistically speaking that would be true. Halak performed well in most measurable categories. He helped his team win and continued his solid play from the previous season. In fact, he was even better than the previous year.

In 2014-15, Halak played in 59 games had a .914 SV% with a 2.43 GAA. His GSAA rating was a -1.20 and had a 101% goals against percentage. Meaning he let in more goals than the average keeper and had a higher GAA than the average keeper.

If you think that there’s a “but” in the midst, you’d be right. Even with all these above average numbers for 2015-16 Halak’s season still feels like a disappointment. It’s just not fair to knock him for it.

Injuries happen in sports. This isn’t WW1 were some soldiers were reported to shoot themselves in the foot to get off the front lines. Halak didn’t ask to get injured or to be forced to sit out the remainder of the regular season and playoffs because of it.

It’s also hard to blame Halak for being annoyed that the team’s GM decided to rotate the crease between Halak, Thomas Greiss and Jean-Francois Berube for most of the season.

But both his displeasure at his situation and the way the season ended leaves an air of disappointment surrounding Halak. And the thought that he may not return for the 2016-17 season just makes the situation a whole lot worse.

Halak can’t be blamed for the injury, nor can he be blamed for the goaltender situation. And he can’t be blamed if he leaves. He doesn’t have a no-move clause to hide behind. Its up to the GM if he gets dealt.

Next: Okposo Walks Because of the Salary Cap

He played well this season, his numbers show that. But there’s a tinge of negativity swirling around Halak that just won’t go away. He can’t be graded on it, but it’s there.

Final Grade: B+

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