Allan Walsh is a prominent hockey agent and frequent Twitterer. This evening, he tweeted a couple of thoughts about the goaltending situation that’s been puzzling Islanders fans (and the few outside of the echo chamber that have noticed) during the early part of this season.
Hard to figure out NY Islanders using 3 goalie system for 2nd year. Biggest issue is goalies don't get enough practice time to stay sharp.— Allan Walsh (@walsha) October 29, 2016
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.— Allan Walsh (@walsha) October 29, 2016
Walsh is right about one thing: this is now Year Two of the Jaroslav Halak-Thomas Greiss-Jean-Francois-Berube triumvirate, and no matter how Jack Capuano juggles his goalies, no one’s gonna be happy. Halak griped publicly about the rotation at the end of last season, but as the guy who lost his spot in line because he was hurt, he had the most to be pissed off about.
Greiss starred for the Islanders in last season’s playoffs, Berube practices hard and has a good attitude and Halak gave the Islanders their first everyday starter in forever. The team clearly likes all three guys. Having injury insurance is nice but something is gonna have to give eventually.
Also relevant to the discussion: Walsh has a vested interest in two of the three principles:
Agent for both Halak and Berube https://t.co/qFsd4PmSmo— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) October 29, 2016
Also also relevant, maybe:
Should also point out Allan Walsh is PA Parenteau's agent... Guessing there was some unhappiness between agent and GM over that situation.— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) October 29, 2016
So, yeah, things are great.
Halak is 2-3-0 with a .901 save percentage in five appearances this season. He was also pretty lights-out in six games for Team Europe at the World Cup of Hockey prior to the season. Greiss is 1-2-0 in three games this season with a .907 save percentage.
Berube has dressed as the back-up in the last couple of games behind both Halak and Greiss, which I guess is better than the press box but still requires a guy to get either hurt or lit up in order to get on the ice. Pretty ghoulish, and not in a fun, Halloween type of way.
In a recent Staple notes column, Capuano praised the three goalie system but admitted that Berube is the guy getting the short end of the goalie stick.
“[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.”
Sounds like Allan Walsh wants that opportunity to happen soon. Maybe with another team.
Update: Well, that escalated quickly.
Word tonight is that after @walsha Twitter blast of NYI carrying three goalies, NYI GM has let league know Jaroslav Halak is available.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) October 30, 2016
Halak, of course, was available before now, then was unavailable after Team Europe’s run to the World Cup final. Maybe the Islanders are ready to move on again or maybe they’re tired of Walsh’s pushing or maybe it’s because there are a few teams in need of goalies like the Kings, Senators and Bruins (and maybe Stars, obviously).
The question then, as it was this summer, is what can Garth Snow even get for Halak? What price is a team willing to pay when they have a starter that will eventually return from injury? They’ll also need to have at least $4.5 million in space for this year and next to take Halak on.
In the meantime, the Islanders’ next game is tomorrow against the Maple Leafs, and whoever is in net will have to contend with Auston Matthews and company.