After a career year in 2018-2019 with the New York Islanders, how does Thomas Greiss respond this upcoming year in what could be his last year with the team?
The New York Islanders received a career year from Thomas Greiss in 2018-2019 that nobody saw coming. The year prior, Greiss was virtually unusable as his goals against average was .892 and his save percentage was 3.82.
Granted, we thought he would improve after an outlier bad season, just not to the extent in which he did last year. Both he and Robin Lehner were fantastic in blue and orange last year and honestly, Greiss goes underappreciated.
Lehner stole the headlines with his off the ice story, and deservedly so, but Greiss was just as good and was a top-five goalie in the game last year.
He had a .927 save percentage (tied for fourth in the league) and a 2.28 goals against average (fourth in the league). With Robin Lehner’s departure, it’s safe to assume that he will still have a similar role in 2019-2020.
The Isles brought in Semyon Varlamov, likely to be the bridge to Ilya Sorokin. Varlamov has been an up and down goalie throughout his career but is someone who can start upwards of 50 games if he needs to.
With the Islanders system, they might better off serving a 1A and 1B role with Varlamov slightly edging Greiss out in reps. Greiss started 39 games last year, but we will likely see that number come down a little bit.
First, we’ll start by the number of games he’ll play. He will likely be in the high 20’s to low 30’s in starts. Greiss is at his best in a 1B role, we’ve seen over the course of his Islanders career what could happen when he gets extended reps, he declines.
Since joining the Isles, Greiss has a .916 save percentage. That’s including his pitiful 2017-2018 season. When you factor in the Isles defensive system and working with Mitch Korn and Piero Greco you’d have to think that he can eclipse that mark.
As for his goals against average, it’s been a 2.69 since he’s joined the Islanders. A 2.28 goals against average again seems unlikely, but to think he regresses back to a 2.70 also seems unlikely, it’ll have to fall somewhere in between.
In a 1B type of role, Greiss will start 33 games for the Islanders this upcoming year. His save percentage will be a .920 with a 2.52 goals against average.
At the end of the year, he will hit unrestricted free agency and leave as the Islanders gear up for a Varlamov/Sorokin one-two punch. Greiss will be remembered fondly on the Island for his playoff heroics and overall solid play in net over his five year Islanders career.