The New York Islanders came away from the 2018 NHL Draft adding a boatload of young talent. However, they still need to add a number one goalie.
While the New York Islanders were beyond thrilled to add Oliver Wahlstrom, Noah Dobson, and Bode Wilde in rounds one and two in this past weekends draft, it didn’t start off so well.
The Isles and Lou Lamoriello saw the Capitals move Philip Grubauer to the Colorado Avalanche right before the 2018 Draft began. This eliminated one of the better options that were on the board for the blue and orange.
So where do the Isles go from here?
At this point I have to say the number one option for the Isles in terms of a starting goalie is unrestricted free agent to be, Carter Hutton.
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Hutton is coming off his best season, posting a record of 17-7-3, along with 2.09 goals against average, .931 save percentage in 32 games played for the St. Louis Blues last season. Hutton was also really good in 2016-17 as well (2.39 GAA & .913 save percentage).
Hutton is very familiar with new Isles head coach Barry Trotz, as he played for him in Nashville.
The two things that make Hutton risky is the fact that he is 32 (turns 33 in December) and the most games he has played in an NHL season is 40.
There will be a number of teams going after Hutton very aggressively. How aggressive should Lamoriello be, especially after seeing how much Scott Darling struggled with Carolina last season. Darling appears to be a 1A goalie, not a starting goalie. Does Hutton also fall into that category?
Rest of the Field
The rest of the field gives Lamoriello a number of options but they all of them have serious question marks.
Reports are that Craig Anderson has asked to be traded out of Ottawa. Anderson is 37 and is coming off a poor season (58GP, 3.32 GAA, .898 save percentage). However the year before (2016-17) he almost led the Senators to the Stanley Cup Finals (2016-17: 40GP, 2.28 GAA, .926 save percentage).
Signing Antti Raanta this off-season, one would think Arizona would listen to trade offers on 28-year old Darcy Kuemper. While Kuemper had a really good season last year, he has never played more than 31 games in an NHL season.
Both Cam Ward and Robin Lehner are free agents come July 1st. The 34-year old Ward (Stanley Cup champion) could have enough gas in the tank to be a 1A goalie for the Isles in 2018-19. Lehner is a big (6’4, 245 lbs) talented goalie who didn’t live up to expectations in Buffalo. At just 26 years of age Lehner does have upside and has the ability to be a number one goalie in the NHL.
The only other option is Lou has something hidden up his sleeve and pulls off an unexpected trade. Not sure where that would come from but never doubt Lou Lamoriello.