It’s been a running debate, an evolving conventional wisdom, and almost a circular discussion among New York Islanders fans all summer: Which goalies will be on the roster and in the lineup on opening night?
It should be such a simple question, yet it does not have a simple answer.
And though it’s been bandied up and down in comments here, we haven’t brought the specific question above the fold lately. So your poll options are below.
How We Got Here
- The Islanders have three goalies on one-way contracts. That’s one too many.
- Jaroslav Halak was signed three summers ago to be the starter on a four-year contract, and he did quite well his first season, but...
- He’s had untimely injuries, continuing a trend noticed earlier in his career, and...
- In the middle of last season, there were hints from beatwriter Arthur Staple of Islanders brass’ dissatisfaction with Halak, allusions to training habits and his unhappiness with the three-goalie scenario his injuries helped create, meanwhile...
- There were increasing hints from Staple and NHL.com’s Brian Compton that Isles management really liked third-string Jean-Francois Berube, who...
- ...was only ever claimed off waivers because — yes, indeed — Halak’s preseason injury kept him from being ready for opening night in October 2015.
Thomas Greiss was excellent all last season, while the aforementioned reporters said Berube would be in the plans as another injury removed Halak from the picture down the stretch and for all of the playoffs.
And so Berube, an RFA was re-signed early in free agency to a one-year extension, while Halak’s season-ending injury naturally made the chances of a team trading for him and his $4.5 million cap hit (with $9.75 million due over the next two seasons) almost nil.
To complete the awkwardness, if Halak is to rebuild his trade value and get another team to take a chance on him before a waivers (or IR) stint is required, he’ll have to do it at next month’s World Cup on the same Team Europe roster where Greiss (and Toronto’s Frederik Andersen) will vie for crease time.
So, What’s Your Bet?
As has been much-discussed, it’s a risk for the Islanders to go with the Greiss-Berube tandem, given the former’s lack of #1 workload experience and the latter’s lack of NHL experience. Though it’s also at least arguably a risk to rely on Halak’s health holding out.
But those are discussions for
another every day around here. For this post, we simply want to know: What do you think will happen?
In the middle of summer’s downtime, Staple’s Twitter Q&A’s see a barrage of this unanswerable question. No one knows for sure. Staple has said he expects a trade before opening night, but that may be more of a "the Isles would really like that solution" than a "that solution is attainable":
@dlawless9 Not as confident, but I still have no idea how the goalie situation will shake out— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) August 23, 2016
So, your turn. By all means, discuss the scenarios in comments, but the following poll sincerely tries to pin you to one bet. Just remember the house* always wins.
*and in Islanders fans’ case, the house is whatever your worst fear may be