In Halak, Isles finally have number one netminder
Rick DiPietro, Wade Dubielewicz, Kevin Poulin, Anders Nilsson, Evgeni Nabokov and some others have all tended the net for the Islanders and for the most part, all have come up short in terms of making the Islanders a winning hockey club. Yes, DiPietro and Nabokov have gotten the Islanders to the postseason, but never out of the first round.
A few weeks ago, Islanders' general manager Garth Snow took a necessary step in order to reverse his team's fortunes by signing goaltender Jaroslav Halak to a four-year, $18 million deal. While Halak has not won a Stanley Cup, he is a goaltender that has had success both in the regular season and postseason and is a goaltender that the Islanders should be able to rely on.
For starters, the Islanders get a goaltender who should have several good years ahead of him. While Halak has been in the league for eight years, he is only 29 years of age and is at the point where he should be in his prime.
Speaking of being in his prime, the team is getting a masked man that wants to prove to the rest of the league that he is an elite goaltender. This is a goaltender that has a solid 2.38 career goals against average, a career .918 save percentage and 30 shutouts to his name.
Halak is looking to show the league that he is an elite goaltender that can lead his team to a Cup. He almost did that with the Montreal Canadiens in 2010 but since that playoffs, he has only appeared in the postseason in 2011-12 with the St. Louis Blues and unfortunately, got injured in the process.
The Islanders are also getting someone who is more than an above average goaltender. When Halak went to the Washington Capitals at the end of this season, he put up terrific numbers and showed that when pressed into duty with a new club, he will do everything he can to earn his team's and coaching staff's trust and respect.
In 12 games with the Capitals, Halak went 5-4-3 with a 2.31 goals against average, a .930 save percentage and one shutout. Considering the fact that he played behind a porous Capitals' defense, those numbers are impressive.
Lastly, the team is getting a goaltender in need of a fresh start and one that wants to be the guy between the pipes. While Poulin could end up being a solid goaltender in the league, he has yet to show that he can be a reliable NHL goaltender.
Sure, Halak has had his injury woes, but when it comes to being a reliable masked man, he is more than that. He has the experience, the resume, the make-up and the ability that all add up to an above average starting goaltender in this league.
The Islanders may have other issues to deal with, but for the time in several years, goaltending is not one of them thanks to the signing of Halak.