Islanders: Best Player To Wear Number 41
By Matt O'Leary
Continuing our best of series, today we will look at the best player to wear number 41 for the New York Islanders in their history.
In the New York Islanders history, only four players have ever worn the number 41. The first to ever do it was Ray Giroux, then Derek Bekar, and David Ullstrom before we get to our winner for today.
The three of them played a combined 69 games so I don’t think we’ll have an honorable mention today, instead we’ll talk about the underrated Jaroslav Halak who is our winner for today.
On May 1, 2014, the Isles traded a fourth-round pick for Jaroslav Halak. He was going to be an expiring UFA but the Islanders signed him to a four-year $18 million ($4.5 million AAV) contract on May 26, 2014.
During his first year on the island, he was fantastic. Halak played in 59 games and put up a .914 save percentage and a 2.43 goals against average. He also set the franchise record for wins with 38, going 38-17-4 in games that he played.
In the playoffs, Halak was fantastic. In seven games he finished with a .926 save percentage and a 2.30 goals against average.
The following year, again Halak was good putting up a .919 save percentage and a 2.30 goals against average. His season was cut short after 36 games due to an injury, and Thomas Greiss had to take over down the stretch.
In year three, things began to get strange. Halak got off to a slow start, in 21 games he had a .904 save percentage and a 3.23 goals against average. The Isles decided to send him down and things got a little ugly.
But, when he was recalled, he ended up having a solid second half. In his final seven starts, after getting called back up, he had a .952 save percentage and a 1.57 goals against average lowering his season total to a .915 save percentage and a 2.80 goals against average.
As we know, the 2017-2018 Islanders were an utter disaster defensively. Both Halak and Greiss struggled, but by the end, Halak was the clear starter. In 54 games, he had a .908 save percentage and a 3.19 goals against average.
In four years with the Islanders, Halak went 88-65-19 with a .913 save percentage and a 2.69 goals against average. In 20 years, people will likely forget Halak’s brief time with the Islanders, but he actually was fairly solid during his four-year run.
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He ranks 33rd in goalies over that span to start at least 80 games in save percentage, and 36th in goals against average. Halak has spent the last two years in Boston and has already extended to remain as Tuuka Rask’s backup.