The New York Islanders announced an NHL contract has been reached with Bridgeport Sound Tigers goalie Jeremy Smith for the remainder of the 2018-19 season, a move that means he could be the third goalie on the depth chart if injury strikes the Islanders during the stretch run or the NHL playoffs.
Smith is 29 and has some NHL experience with the Colorado Avalanche from 2016-17. This season he has shared the crease in Bridgeport with Christopher Gibson, who is already on a two-way NHL deal.
This is more procedural than anything. You'll see a few others of these today. Gets him on the NHL reserve list; readily playoff-eligible, call-ups/send-downs easily.— Michael Fornabaio (@fornabaioctp) February 24, 2019
Consequently, Smith wasn’t in the lineup for Bridgeport Sunday, as he’ll have to pass through waivers to then be “loaned” back to the Sound Tigers, something that needs to be done to check the boxes that make him eligible in the playoffs both for Bridgeport and the Islanders.
Heading into Sunday, both Smith and Gibson had appeared in 32 games this season, with Smith logging about 85 more total minutes (1769 vs. 1684) and facing 45 more shots (856 vs. 809) while allowing one more goal. So that’s how Smith’s .900 save percentage tops Gibson’s .895.
Those figures land neither player in the top 25 of AHL goalies who’ve logged at least 19 games thus far. So if disaster strikes the island and both Robin Lehner and Thomas Greiss — each having outstanding NHL seasons — get hurt, a steep dropoff would be expected.
But this way even if the Islanders just need coverage down the stretch or in the postseason, they’ll now have their pick of Smith or Gibson.
As for the other kinds of moves you’re waiting for around the NHL?
There’s scuttlebutt about the Islanders in on this forward or that forward, about Josh Ho-Sang being available, etc., etc....but no additional major moves had happened as of 3 p.m. EST Sunday, which sets up an intense final 24 hours before the NHL trade deadline. (The deadline is 3 p.m. EST Monday.)
Many speculate Ottawa’s asking price for Mark Stone is holding up the market (Kevin Hayes, Mike Hoffman, Wayne Simmonds, Gustav Nyquist, Jeff Carter, Ilya Kovalchuk were among the other forwards expected or potentially to be moved).
At some point the dam will break and the names will start to fly.