Last year New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak had one roller coaster of a season. Now, coming into his final year of a four-year deal, the veteran goaltender has a lot to prove as he looks to get his career back on track.
After a solid first two years with the New York Islanders, Jaroslav Halak was below average the first half of last season. There were nights he looked like Patrick Roy and others where he showed signs of 2012 Rick Dipietro.
It didn’t help that Halak was smack in the middle of Garth Snow’s three-goalie system. Halak’s agent certainly held nothing back on the Twittersphere. Between his poor play and frustration with management, Halak found himself in Bridgeport for the latter part of the second half. It is still weird to me to this day to see him in a Sound Tigers jersey.
Like he should of, Halak dominated in Bridgeport, at one point winning 12 straight games. After way too many nights of seeing Berube in the crease (yes seven was too many) Snow put the ego aside and brought Halak back up to the big club. Halak then single-handedly brought a Tavares less Islanders team back from the dead finishing just one measly point out of a playoff spot.
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Now the big question in the room…which Halak will show up in 2017-2018? Well, for starters Halak has had an exceptional start to training camp. In his first preseason tune up Monday at the Garden he stopped all 22 shots he faced.
Before we get too excited, remember Halak absolutely dominated the world cup of hockey before the start of last season. My expectations were through the roof, only to fall well short.
Quite honestly, I would expect nothing more than inconsistent Halak to haunt the Islanders once again. There will be nights where he will look like the clear number one goalie and others where he looks like he belongs back in the AHL. If he has more good nights than bad, the Islanders will be in good shape with Thomas Greiss right behind him. That’s the name of the game, though right? Simply, have more good games than bad and you’ll be successful.
At the end of the day, I still think Greiss is the better more consistent option. Hopefully, that will take the pressure off Halak to perform when he gets the nod. It seemed to work in the second half of the season. Halak is essentially playing for his career this season. Play well and you will be rewarded with a serviceable contract from some team next year. Don’t perform and who knows where you will end up.
I predict Halak will finish the season with around 20 wins and a 2.46 GAA. If that’s the case, the Islanders will be just fine switching time between Halak and Greiss.