New York Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak appears to be on trading block.
On Saturday night, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that Islanders general manager Garth Snow “has let league know Jaroslav Halak is available.”
Earlier Saturday, Halak’s agent Allan Walsh pointed out how the Islanders’ using a three-goaltender system for the second season wasn’t working and the “Biggest issue is goalies don’t get enough practice time to stay sharp.”
Walsh also tweeted, “Starting goalie for NY Islanders last game had only 1 quality practice in last 5 days before Penguins game. Going on 2 years of this now.”
Halak started that game, and allowed four goals on 35 shots on goal. He has been critical of the Islanders carrying three goaltenders in the past calling it “not ideal” at the team’s 2015-16 locker cleanout day.
Walsh is the agent for Islanders third-string goaltender J-F Berube, who has also been affected by the team’s decision to carry three goaltenders.
In 2015-16, the 25-year-old Berube played just 12 regular season games between the NHL and AHL. The previous year he played 52 games and 17 playoff games. in helping the Manchester Monarchs to a Calder Cup. Last season the Islanders claimed Berube off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings. Berube would have to clear waivers if he goes to the AHL.
It appears the Islanders don’t want to risk losing Berube if he gets sent to the minors.
Islanders coach Jack Capuano recently explained to Newsday why he likes the three goaltender system.
“(Getting the starters rest) is good for us. We actually like having the three goalies,” Capuano said. “It’s not an ideal situation for J-F. He obviously wants to play and he’ll get his opportunity as we go here.”
So far this season, New York netminders have struggled. Greiss has played three games and held a 2.71 goal-against average and .907 save percentage. Halak has a 3.04 goal-against average and .901 save percentage.
Trading Halak would probably make the most sense for the Islanders if they want to part with a goaltender. He holds a $4.5 million salary cap hit per-season through 2017-8. Greiss has one season left on a two-year, $3 million contract. Last season Greiss held a 2.36 goal-against average and .925 save percentage. He took over as the team’s starter after Halak suffered an injury in March. Greiss helped the team to the second-round of the playoffs.
It’s unclear which teams would want to make a play for Halak. The Los Angeles Kings have been hit hardest by goaltending injuries in 2015-16 and are without starter Jonathan Quick (groin) for at least a couple of months, and backup Jeff Zatkoff (groin) though they hope to get Zatkoff back soon. The Kings have some salary cap issues and likely won’t be able to make any room without moving an expensive piece in return.
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