What to do with New York Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak? If the Isles can’t trade him what do they do with the 31-year-old Slovakian netminder? Could a buyout do anything?
Last season the New York Islanders were trying to find a new home for goaltender Jaroslav Halak by the trade deadline. His attitude had deteriorated whatever value the franchise saw in him. By the New Year, he was already demoted to the Islanders AHL affiliate in Bridgeport.
The Islanders couldn’t find a new home for Halak at the deadline and so he stayed with the team. No one wanted a $4.5 million AHL goaltender, even if he was playing great in the lower league. The cap hit was just too much for what the Isles were selling.
Remember that by the deadline Jaro was sporting a .899 SV% and 3.05 GAA in 21 games. For $4.5 million there were potentially cheaper and better options available then and later for teams needing a goaltender.
New York Islanders
So now what do the Islanders do? They shouldn’t have the same three goalie situation they had the last two season now that Jean-Francois Berube becomes an unrestricted free agent. Sharing the practice facility with a third goalie won’t be an issue next season.
And if anything Halak proved he can still play in the NHL after being called back at the end of March. He went on a 6-1-0 run with a .949 SV% and 1.57 GAA.
What about a buyout? Sportsnet’s Luke Fox seems to think that it’s at least an option, putting Halak on his list of “other names on the buyout radar”.
With a year left on his deal the only reason the Isles should consider it is if they desperately need some cap space to bring in some top level help.
According to Cap Friendly’s incredibly helpful buyout calculator – I’m not being paid to say that, I’m just a fan – the Isles would save $3.3 million on the cap this season next season and take a $1.6 million hit in 2018-19. That’s a $5 million cushion with a flat cap ceiling next season.
Matt Duchene carries a $6 million cap hit. So a buyout doesn’t quite cover it alone. But combine that with whatever current Isles players are going the other way to necessitate the move and there’s enough cap space opening up.
Do it Or Not?
Having a third wheel free Thomas Greiss and Jaroslav Halak as a 1a-1b is a great goaltending setup for the New York Islanders next season.
Without a third goalie clogging up the practice facility, the Isles should be able to get the best out of Halak while Greiss can continue to do his thing.
A buyout only makes sense if the Islanders need the cap space to reel in a big fish in the trade market or free agency. But even then the Isles still have Mikhail Grabovski‘s $5 million hit that they could transfer to long-term injury reserve. Getting cap relief there rather than a buyout.
Agree or not, the Islanders have options if they so choose to bring in a big name forward to complement their superstar center and maybe get to the playoffs next season.