New York Islanders Three Answered Questions During This Offseason

Barry Trotz and Lou Lamoriello of the New Your Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Barry Trotz and Lou Lamoriello of the New Your Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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DENVER, CO – NOVEMBER 07: Semyon Varlamov #1 of the Colorado Avalanche tends goal against the Nashville Predators at the Pepsi Center on November 7, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

Question:  Will They Name a Starter?

The New York Islanders were able to replace the seemingly self-inflicted loss of Robin Lehner with the acquisition of Semyon Varlamov during the free agency window.

Varlamov in no way had a similar season to Robin Lehner in 2018-19. With a 2.68GAA and 0.909SV% for the Colorado Avalanche, the Islanders were getting the weaker of the two goalies. But it seemed that the Islanders had been chasing Varlamov since the 2018 draft (subscription required), now that they had him, would he be their number one starter?

Barry Trotz like to play with a regular starter. A goalie that he can count on for 60+ starts over the year. He didn’t use that strategy with Lehner and Greiss last season, but would he in 2019-20 now that the Isles “got their guy?

Answer: Nope. It’s the same plan as last year.

Barry Trotz will use the same strategy in nets between Varlamov and Greiss; at least at the start of the season. If one clearly emerges as better than the other then he’ll have no choice.

But as it stands Semyon Varlamov and Thomas Greiss will split starts in the crease for the New York Islanders. Judging by how that strategy worked last season, there’s no reason to use it again this season.

Both Lehner and Greiss finished with a goals-against-average below 2.20 and a save percentage higher than 0.927.

If a split between Varlamov and Greiss can yield similar results – around a 2.40GAA and 0.920SV% between the two – the Islanders could be looking at back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time since 2015-16.