Despite being a huge reason why the New York Islanders were able to advance in the 2015-16 playoffs, Thomas Greiss started the year as the backup goaltender. 2016-17 would be another great season for Greiss.
The New York Islanders began the season with a questionable decision to carry three goalies: Jaroslav Halak, Thomas Greiss, and Jean-Francois Berube. The three-headed monster wound up being more of a three-headed punching bag as no goalie was really able to get into a groove.
Greiss however, was able to get off to a solid start. The end of the 2016 calendar year saw the Islanders at 15-15-6. Greiss was a huge reason the Isles were able to sit at Hockey .500 as he was 9-6-0. The Islanders waived starting goaltender Jaroslav Halak on December 30, and Greiss was given the reigns.
Greiss the Starter
Greiss hit the ground running and produced a great month of January. He was 6-2-3 in January. The record may not jump off the page at you, but he finished the month with an outstanding .935 save percentage and two shutouts. Greiss’ play helped the Islanders gain confidence back and begin their climb up the standings. The end of January was Greiss’ biggest statement as put together three straight wins against the Blue Jackets, Canadiens, and the Capitals. Of course that win against the Canadiens led to one of Rick Dipietro’s greatest post game moments.
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Unfortunately for Greiss, the Islanders mishandling of the goaltending situation had the Isles rely on Greiss. Greiss was up to the task early on, but as he was forced to play night in and night out he began to wear down. Between February and March Greiss played in 24 of a possible 29 games, and his numbers predictably took a dip. He ended with a .891 save percentage and .895 save percentage respectively.
Greiss ended the season with a 26-18-5 record, .913 save percentage, and a 2.69 GAA. He put up respectable numbers and was a main cog in the Islanders turnaround that saw them finish just a point out of the playoffs. The Islanders enjoyed Greiss’ play enough to give him a three year contract extension. Unfortunately Greiss had to deal with incompetent backup play, and saw his numbers dip due to overuse. In a group project, Greiss would have the Isles to blame for not receiving an A grade.
Final Grade: B+