Islanders Still Need Another AHL Goalie
By Matt O'Leary
The Islanders have their NHL goalie situation figured out but they still need more depth for the AHL at that position.
I know, I know this isn’t nearly as high on the priority list for the Islanders as some other things but it is still a need. Right now, in the AHL the Isles have Jakub Skarek and that’s it. Chris Gibson went to the Tampa Bay Lightning’s organization and Linus Soderstrom left North America.
Sure, Skarek can be the starter for Bridgeport but he can’t play every single night. They need at least another body in there. The Isles took a goalie in the 2020 Draft, Henrik Tikkanen who is AHL eligible technically.
Henrik Tikkanen is a 20-year-old who is playing in the lower levels in Finland. So to expect him to make that jump right away might be tough. He’s currently playing for IPK in Mestis and has three games under his belt.
More than likely, it’s going to be a veteran to split time with Skarek. The Isles have a couple of different routes that they can go, free agency or trade.
In free agency, you have names like Aaron Dell, Garret Sparks, and Michael Hutchinson who could fill that role. All three of those guys would likely be one-year deals at a cap hit of under $1 million, essentially serving as organizational depth.
If the Isles didn’t want to go that route, they could also acquire one in a trade. I look at a team like the Red Wings as a place for the Isles to look into acquiring a depth goalie. Detroit currently has five non-roster goalies in their system signed.
Filip Larsson, Victor Brattstrom, Kevin Boyle, Calvin Pickard, and Kaden Fulcher are all signed through the 2020-2021 season and none of them are expected to be on the Red Wings roster. A guy like Pickard, who posted a .903 save percentage and a 2.86 goals-against average in the AHL last year would likely be the best fit.
He’s one of the oldest of the bunch, at 28 years old, and making just $750,000 against the cap. Pickard could be the return in a cap dump situation for the Isles as Detroit has little use for him long-term.
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Regardless, add a third goalie to the list of things that Lou Lamoriello has to figure out. It may not be a top priority right now, but something has to get done eventually on that front.