The Isles Need a Goalie
By Patrick Hoffman
When it comes to the New York Islanders, their goaltending has been awful for what seems like the last two decades.
That may actually be the understatement of the century. Based on what has gone on with that position for a very long time, Hall of Famer Billy Smith might have been their last good goaltender.
Sure, the team had some bright spots such as Tommy Salo, Chris Osgood, and even Rick DiPietro at one point. After those guys, however, the list of goaltenders they had/have is an absolute train wreck.
Lou Lamoriello, the team's new president of hockey operations, knows what good goaltending looks like. He had it in New Jersey with Martin Brodeur and he also had it in Toronto with Frederik Andersen.
It is up to Lou to bring a solid goaltender to this franchise. The answer is certainly not Jaroslav Halak and it's also not Thomas Greiss.
These two netminders were awful this season. Yes, the team in front of them was just as bad, if not worse, but Halak and Greiss did not do anything to help themselves.
The question now is who will Lou go after? It's slim pickens when it comes to the goaltending market, but here are a few guys he should consider going after:
Lehner has had a lot of bad luck in his career. He's had a few injuries, played on some bad teams in Ottawa and Buffalo, and has not seen any postseason action in his career.
With that said, Lehner is still a talented masked man and actually put up decent numbers in his three seasons with the Sabres. In fact, he posted GAA's of 2.47, 2.68, and 3.01 to go along with save percentages of .924, .920, and .908.
At just 26 years of age, Lehner should have a lot of hockey left in him and may be a fresh start with the Islanders and Lamoriello will get him back on the path to becoming the goaltender people in the league know he can be.
He may have struggled in two games in the postseason, but Grubauer has shown that he can be a more than solid goaltender.
This past season, the 26-year-old went 15-10-3 with a 2.35 GAA, a .923 save percentage and three shutouts. It's a good thing he played this well because starter Braden Holtby did not play as well in the regular season as he usually does.
Grubauer should definitely be a top trade target over the off-season for this franchise.
The St. Louis Blues did not make the postseason this year, but it certainly was not because of the play of their back-up goaltender.
Hutton, a UFA come July 1, had a terrific year for the Blues as he went 17-7-3 with a 2.09 GAA, a .931 save percentage and three shutouts. He may have been the back-up with Jake Allen as a starter, but 32 games is a lot for someone who is not the starter.
He may be 32 years of age, but something tells me he deserves at least a shot of being a starter. It will not be in St. Louis because of Allen, but may be the Isles will be the team that gives him that chance.
No one knows what Lou is going to do when it comes this position. What we do know is that this franchise needs a true number one goaltender if they want to have any chance of having success moving forward.
Previously, Patrick has covered the NHL for Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, About.com, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.