Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Islanders Goalie Carousel

So after my first post I have decided to get more specific in my blogs.  I am mainly going to chat about goalies and give my reactions to how guys have been playing of late and their futures.  I am also going to talk about different aspects that can affect playing goal.  I will still post the occasional blog about other guys in the show, but as a goalie myself, goaltending is my passion.  I also came across a little conservative in my first post…I’m going to try and be a little more candid. 

The Islanders goaltending situation has ended up being pretty interesting this year, they have employed 8 goalies.  This has been the result of a number of injuries, some fluke and some out of stupidity, a trade, and a waiver claim.  I think that having a goalie for a GM, Garth Snow, would make for a solid goaltending situation on the team. He has made ok moves and had some questionable ones.  I don’t even want to get started about the ridiculous Rick DiPietro and his continuous knee/hip injuries and then the one punch season ender by Brent Johnson…they need to work some Lou Lamoriello magic and make his lifetime contract disappear.  Seriously if they buy him out he’ll be Alexi Yashin status on the salary cap with his contract’s buyout hit on the books for 20 years if he’s bought out this summer. 
Evgeni Nabokov is a smart man for staying home after the Isles picked him up off waivers.  If I was in his situation potty training and keeping the house tidy seems like a much better decision then getting embarrassed night after night playing for them…Even next year when he will probably be stuck at home for the year he’ll owe the Isles for failing to report after being claimed; he will have a nice time enjoying his millions and some quality time with his family.

Kevin Poulin (February 4, 2011 - Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images North America)

The Islanders do have some talent coming up in the 20 year old Kevin Poulin and recently traded for Al Montoya.  I think Nate “the Great” Lawson will find himself as the odd man out this summer even after watching his 40 save OT loss to the Capitals yesterday.  He was the main reason why the Isles were winning 1-0 with less than a minute in the game.  He is definitely playing for a contract and fired up to play well based on Montoya’s stellar play since being acquired. I see him 4th on the depth chart next season if re-signed.  I’m rooting for him though; I like the goalies that battle for their spots.  But, Poulin could be the future if DiPietro continues to play about 10 games a season, I know I know DiPi played in 21 games this year but then got knocked out for the rest of the season.  If DiPietro (and Poulin as well, bummer fluke injury for him) is healthy to start next season I could see Poulin, who went 4-2-1 in 7 games and a 2.44 GAA and a .920 SV% on an NHL bottom feeder, starting in Bridgeport of the AHL and will be pushing Al Montoya.  I give Montoya the backup spot just due to his 6+ years experience in the AHL and pretty solid games between the Isles this year and Phoenix in 08-09.  His GAA of 2.04 and .930 SV% are solid for playing under 15 games in the NHL.  That is if they tend him a qualifying offer which I would be shocked if they didn’t.  Also there’s Mikko Koskinen, after watching him play and his save of the year candidate against James Wisnewski, he has potential but I see him a few years away from the show and needs some more time in the AHL.  I’m curious to see how Lawson and Montoya play the rest of the year. I think they will have a positive impact on each other and push each other to play solid.  They both seem to be grateful for the opportunity to play. 
                 Nathan Lawson and Al Montoya (February 16, 2011 - Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images North America)