Islanders Need a True Number One Netminder
As of this writing, the team finds themselves in 14th in the Eastern Conference while also having a three game losing streak. The Islanders may not be one of the elite hockey clubs in the league but they are certainly better than the way they are playing right now.
Perhaps the big reason for their struggles is the fact that they do not have a true number one goaltender. With Evgeni Nabokov out with an injury, the team has pinned their hopes on 23-year-old Kevin Poulin and while it would be unreasonable to expect that Poulin get the job done on a regular basis, it is not unreasonable to expect better performances between the pipes.
One thing Poulin has not done this season is win hockey games on a consistent basis for this Islanders hockey club. In 11 games, Poulin has won just three games and in 32 games in his career, has won just 10 total.
Winning is obviously the number one goal for every NHL team and right now, Poulin is not doing that. While Nabokov was not great when he was healthy this season, he at least had a .500 record and won some games for his team.
Another problem for Poulin this season has been the goals against factor. In his last five games, Poulin has allowed 18 goals and ended up winning just one of those games.
Poulin’s goals against average this season is 3.10. To be considered one of the better goalies in the NHL and to help his team win hockey games, Poulin needs to get that goals against average under three goals a game because while the Islanders may have trouble keeping the puck out of their own net, they do have an offense that is more than capable of putting the puck in the net.
The Quebec native also needs to do a better job of stopping the puck. As of this writing, Poulin has stopped only .891 percent of the shots he has faced this season, which means that he is not making the saves he needs to keep his team in games this season.
Yes, the Islanders give up a lot of high quality scoring chances and yes, it is unrealistic to expect Poulin to stop them all. With that said, however, Poulin needs to make a lot more saves than he is making now, especially when he is facing an average of close to 26 shots per game.
Obviously, Poulin cannot be blamed for everything. There have been games where he has been quite good and has showed a lot of promise as an up and coming NHL masked man.
With that said, it is clear that the Islanders need a true number one goaltender. A true number one goaltender keeps his goals against down, makes the big save when called upon and gives his team an opportunity to win a game every time he is between the pipes.