News this morning comes courtesy of Arthur Staple of Newsday, who reports that Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak will have and/or has had surgery for a sports hernia and will need about two months of recovery time.
Got word last night that Jaro Halak needs surgery to repair a sports hernia. Not sure if he's had it yet. 6-8 week recovery. #Isles— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) May 18, 2016
Back in early March, Halak left the Islanders' 2-1 win over the Penguins with a lower-body injury and was pronounced out for 6-8 weeks the next day. That meant, barring an extra long playoff run, Halak was done for the year. He finished the season 18-13-4 with a .919 save percentage. He's been no stranger to groin injuries going back through his career.
Thomas Greiss took over the starting job and played well, eventually helping the Islanders make it to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 1993. Halak skated in some post-season practices, but was never about to return.
Even before the playoffs, the idea was floated that the Islanders could trade Halak (and the two years and $4.5 million per left on his contract), leaving Greiss as the starter next season with third-stringer Jean-Francois Berube backing him up. The risky proposition makes sense financially, but would require putting faith in two goalies without lengthy resumes (yes, even Greiss) for a full season.
At his clear-out media availability, Halak once again made his feelings about the three goalie rotation clear, saying he had no control over the roster and basically putting it on Garth Snow to pick two items off the menu.
And at his year-end media availability, Snow had some high praise for Greiss, who exceeded expectations by a pretty wide margin:
"Thomas came in and displayed a great work ethic whether he was playing or whether he was backing up on a certain night. I think Thomas earned the respect from our players, from our coaches because of his personality, his demeanor, his work ethic. And when he got the opportunity to play, he seized it and he played great for us.
"He proved to be a No. 1 goalie in the league this season ... but the challenge for not only Thomas but all of our players is to improve and build off that and get better."
Greiss' season is still going on over in Russia, where he has the German national team in the medal round of the IIHF World Championships. He's 3-0 in the tournament since joining his countrymen.
This sports hernia surgery adds yet another wrinkle to the scenario. The market for goalies is already pretty small and teams might opt to sign an unrestricted free agent without giving up any assets.
Halak's been good in his two seasons as an Islander. Greiss has been good in his one season as an Islander. The last time the Islanders had two good goalies on the same roster, their names were Billy Smith and Rollie Melanson.
We'll see who's in net next October. There will probably be a few more turns in this story between now and then.