It’s ironic that the New York Islanders have had three goaltenders on the active roster for most of this season. Reason being is Thomas Greiss becomes an unrestricted free agent at season’s end and in all likelihood so will J.F. Berube.
That would just leave Jaroslav Halak who just cleared the NHL waiver wire and is currently with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on the New York Islanders roster. The Islanders should fix that and sign Thomas Greiss.
Thomas Greiss is coming off an exceptional season where he was one of the biggest reasons why the New York Islanders ended their 23-year playoff series drought. This season, Greiss has been one of the most consistent Islanders with a 9-5-2 record and 2.31 goals against average and .927 save percentage.
The soon to be 31-year old goalie has bounced around a bit the last few years being a solid backup goalie. But with his time with the Islanders, the German netminder has proven he is more than capable of being a number one goalie in the NHL.
The Islanders are very confident playing in front of Greiss and have for the most part been a much more consistent team with him in net. Greiss can be an effective bridge until the organization’s top goalie prospects are ready for prime time.
The 21-year old Sorokin has been dominating the KHL the last couple of years. So much so that his performance this year of 20-5-6. 1.55 goals against average and .930 save percentage is off from last year’s award-winning campaign. Sorokin won the top goalie award in the KHL last year going 17-7-4 with 1.06 goals against average and a .953 save percentage.
Soderstrom is a bit of the forgotten man because Sorokin has received so much recognition. But the 20-year old goalie has performed at a high level in the Swedish league. So far this Soderstrom has gone 7-3-0 with 1.57 goals against average and .938 save percentage.
While everyone in the Islanders organization should be excited with anticipation regarding these young netminders, it’s still going to take a little bit of time to getting them ready for the NHL. Sorokin is signed through next season (2017-18) with the KHL team CSKA Moscow. Best case scenario is both of these promising youngsters come to the Islanders for the 2018-19 season.
In terms of other options for next season besides Greiss none are ideal. Going back to Jaroslav Halak on the walk-year of his four-year deal does not sound appealing. Much better chance the Islanders buy-out Halak in the off-season.
In terms of free agency the best options currently are Ben Bishop, Steve Mason, or Brian Elliott. Bishop is looking for a big long-term deal which does not make him a good fit for the Islanders. The Flyers will probably re-sign Mason and Elliott is having a sub-par year in Calgary.
The trade market does not look like one where there is a good short-term solution for the Islanders either.
For all of these reasons, Greiss is the right fit for the Islanders. A three-year deal in the neighborhood of $10.5 million could be a win-win for both the Islanders and Greiss.
Greiss can be the number one guy until one of the youngsters comes to the Islanders and eventually takes over the reigns as the team’s starting goalie. Greiss has a lot of good hockey ahead of him and resigning him would be a very wise move by the Islanders.