New York Islanders: Context For How Poorly the Goalies Played
The New York Islanders goalie tandem of Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss was really bad in 2017-2018, but just how bad was it?
It’s no secret the New York Islanders goalie tandem of Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss was ineffective in 2017-2018. Between the two of them, they started 74 games while Chris Gibson got the other eight.
Even though Gibson’s numbers are going to be used in this evaluation, the focus is on Halak and Greiss who still played 90 percent of the games between the two of them.
In 2017-2018 the Islanders goalies combined for a .903 save percentage and a 3.42 goals against average. It wasn’t pretty, but just how bad was it? I don’t think people realize how poorly the Islanders tandem played this year so I’ll put it into perspective.
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I looked at the teams save percentage and goals against average each year in reverse order before I found a year in which it was worse. We had to go back pretty far in Islanders history before we did so.
Our first stop is 2013-2014. How can we forget the year the Islanders doubled down on Evgeni Nabokov at age 38 after his putrid series against Pittsburgh. The Nabokov, Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson combined for a .898 save percentage and a 3.00 goals against average.
That save percentage was clearly worse, but they didn’t let in as many goals. There was almost half a goal difference despite having a save percentage that was .005 lower than the 2017-2018 Islanders. This was definitely a bad year for Islanders goalies, but not as bad as it was this past year.
The next time an Islander team had a lower save percentage than this past year was 2005-2006. Who could forget the Rick DiPietro, Garth Snow and Wade Dubielewicz three-headed monster? They combined for a save percentage of .896 and a goals against average of 3.17.
That trio was pretty bad, but still was no match for the Halak, Greiss and Gibson trio who still allowed .25 more goals per game.
As we continue on this lovely trip down memory lane, we find ourselves at the 2000-2001 Islanders who had 52 points on the season. Woof. John Vanbiesbrouck, Wade Flaherty, Rick DiPietro and Chris Terreri combined for an .891 save percentage and a 3.15 goals against average.
Despite having a save percentage that resembles a B+ on an exam, they still somehow managed to have a better save percentage than this year’s New York Islanders.
In 1998-1999 the Islanders again had a sub-.900 save percentage. Tomy Salo, Wade Flaherty, Felix Potvin and Marcel Cousineau combined for an .898 save percentage with a 2.85 goals against average.
How their save percentage was so poor, yet their goals against average was sub-3.00 is still one of the biggest mysteries in the Islanders goalie history.
Going back to 1996-1997, the Islanders had another season with a worse save percentage than this past year’s unit. Tommy Salo, Eric Fichaud , nd Tommy Soderstrom combined for a .902 save percentage and 2.92 goals against average.
Clearly, the unit was bad but not as bad as the Halak, Greiss and Gibson trio. With a save percentage just a tick lower than there’s Salo, Fichaud and Soderstrom had a half a goal better goals-against average.
We’ve finally made it to a worse goalie year than this past year. In order to find a season in which Islanders goalies had a worse save percentage and goals against average, you have to go back to the 1995-1996 season.
To give you a perspective that was the third worst year in team history. The Islanders had just 54 points on the season that year. Tommy Soderstrom, Eric Fichaud, Jamie McLennan, and Tommy Salo combined for a .882 save percentage and a 3.72 goals against average.
Yikes. They each had a sub-.900 save percentage, Fichaud’s was the best at .897. Also, everyone had a GAA over 3.00, again Fichaud had the best at 3.31 which by no means is that an effective year.
You have to go back 21 years before you find a worse goalie performance and that’s from a team that finished with 16 points less than this past year’s Islander team did. The worse part about this exercise is Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss are better than almost all the goalies the team has had over the past 21 years.
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When guys don’t play to their potential it puts you in a bad spot, which is exactly what happened. That’s why Lou Lamoriello (Wow, it feels so nice to write that name instead of writing Garth Snow) has to find an upgrade in net for 2018-2019.
All statistics were taken from Hockey Reference.