The New York Islanders have a solid tandem manning the goal crease in Thomas Greiss and Jaroslav Halak. With no clear-cut number one net minder it will be interesting to see how the Isles goalie rotation evolves.
But who is their number one goaltender? That is a question that may not be answered until the NHL playoffs begin.
Greiss has been very solid since joining the Isles as a free agent, two summers ago. The German net minder went 26-18-5 with 2.69 goals-against average and .913 save percentage (51 games) last year.
New York Islanders
Greiss was rewarded with a three-year, $10 million-dollar extension last spring. His new extension starts this season.
The 31-year old Greiss proved he is up to the task of producing in big regular season games, as well as the post-season, as he showed in the 2016 playoffs. Besides John Tavares, Greiss was the Isles best player during that playoff run.
Greiss will be part of the Isles foundation the next few years. This year he is paired with Halak. However, starting next year he will be mentoring talented youngster Linus Soderstrom.
Last year was a frustrating year for Halak on and off the ice. It consisted of sub-par play, clearing league waivers, and a lengthy demotion to the AHL.
Last season, Halak went 12-9-5, with 2.80 goals-against average and .915 save percentage (28 games).
The 32-year old Czech native is in the last year of his contract and will be elsewhere next season.
Halak is playing for his NHL life this coming season. If he can get back to the productive goalie he was before last season, there will be a number of NHL teams interested in his future services. If not, Halak and his agent could be sitting by the phone next July.
This is a critical year for the Islanders franchise in a number of ways. The Isles need to have a successful season. The blue and orange need to have a big spring in 2018. For the Isles to be in that position, it must start with a strong regular season.
For Doug Weight that means from when the puck drops on opening night, his goalies need to be primed and ready.
Odds are Weight will start the season with a 50-50 rotation. However, if either Greiss or Halak grab the job by the throat, Weight won’t worry about making either guy his number one goaltender.
Having a strong start to the upcoming regular season is goal number one for this team. If either Greiss or Halak shows they should be the starting goalie, Weight will not hesitate to go that route right away.
Barring injuries, the Isles are in good hands with their goaltenders. Both guys should also keep each other motivated with each other’s play, and with each vying for the number one spot between the pipes. Competition brings out the best in athletes in all sports. That scenario can only benefit the Isles towards a successful season this year.