The Islanders and goalie Jaroslav Halak have an agreement on a new four-year contract (McKenzie, May 22).
The Islanders acquired Halak from the Washington Capitals for a fourth round pick on May 1.
Halak was sent from St. Louis to Buffalo as part of the Ryan Miller trade and then sent from Buffalo to Washington on March 5th for Michal Neuvirth.
Halak has a record of 144-85-29 in his career and this season was 29-13-7. His career save percentage is .918 and his career GAA is 2.38. In 12 games for the Caps after his trade, Halak was 5-4-3 with a 2.31 GAA and a .930 save percentage.
Halak was a pending UFA and just finished the fourth year of a four year deal that has a cap hit of $3.75 million. Halak’s actual salary this season was $4.5 million.
Kevin SchultzIn one fell swoop, the Islanders made two major announcements for their 2014-15 campaign: that they’ll be sending their 2015 first rounder to Buffalo (keeping this year’s selection) and that they now have a functioning goaltender.
As many suspected — and Christian correctly debated — the Islanders will indeed keep their fifth overall pick in 2014 and send their to-be-determined 2015 pick to Buffalo as penance for the Thomas Vanek trade. That only makes sense if the team is better than they were this year. And Garth Snow thinks that’ll be the case.
By signing netminder Jaroslav Halak today, the Islanders now have what should be a solid — or at the least NHL average — goaltender for the next four years. That sentence may downplay things, but this is a great thing for the Islanders.
Halak is only 29, so in or around the prime of his career, and is coming off a season with a .923 SVP for two different teams. Islanders goalies, last year, combined for an NHL-worst .894. I’ve gone through the numbers before but in theory that would have saved the Islanders 63 goals in a full year, if we assume the team’s save percentage was .923 for the entire year and not .894 (unlikely, as that’s a best case scenario but you get the point as to how much a different it could be).
There is a concern; Halak had a poor lockout shortened season with an .899 mark so .923 certainly isn’t the new normal. But given that his career mark is .918, hopefully .899 is an outlier.
So, the Islanders still need a backup goalie, as they only have one goalie signed for next year. But for now, this is great. This is excellent. This improved the teams most pressing need for next year and avoids the frightening though of resting hopes on the pads of Evgeni Nabokov or a yet-to-be-proved youngster. This is an actual bonafide NHL goaltender.
Also — interesting note is that this is basically the first big free agent the Islanders have signed in a few years. Not since… Bill Guerin? Dwayne Roloson? Mark Streit? I don’t know, but it’s certainly been a few years. Let us know your thoughts on the signing in the comments.