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Signing Jaroslav Halak Is a Huge Save for the Islanders’ Future

by Alex Kuhlke | Posted on Friday, May 23rd, 2014
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

It was announced on May 22nd that the Islanders have signed goaltender Jaroslav Halak to a 4-year, $18 million deal- a day that Islanders fans will surely never forget. The waiting game that’s been going on for the fan base since acquiring Halak’s rights in exchange for a fourth round pick to Washington back on May 1st can officially come to a close, and that is thanks to none other than Garth Snow for making this huge move.

The area of goaltending has been sort of a sore subject for the Islanders ever since the Rick DiPietro fiasco. Since then, the franchise has always employed some almost good goaltenders. Regardless of the offense or defense the Islanders have had on the ice, a major struggle has always come from within the net. With 39-year old, injury-prone Evgeni Nabokov’s contract ending at the conclusion of this season, the goaltending future of the Islanders was yet again a mystery. Fans have really never felt the complete trust and confidence that fans could potentially feel in a goaltender, but thankfully, these days are finally behind us.

29-year old Jaroslav Halak was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in 2003. He played for Montreal as well as the St. Louis Blues, up until this current 2013-2014 season when the Blues traded Halak to Buffalo for Ryan Miller in a five-player, two-draft trade before the trade deadline. He was a Sabre for 5 days and didn’t play in one game before then being traded to the Washington Capitals with a 2015 third round pick in exchange for goalie Michal Neuvirth and defenseman Rostislav Klesla. Halak’s career record is 144-85-29 with a 2.38 GAA, a .918 save percentage and 30 shutouts.

Halak told Newsday that given his age and where’s he’s at in his career, the Islanders are a “perfect fit” for him and that he’s “thrilled” about the 4-year deal. He also spoke of the bright future of the Islanders’ young, talented players.

Coupled with the 2015 move to Brooklyn, Garth Snow’s signing of this veteran goalie has perfectly set the stage for a highly attractive destination for free agents over the summer. It’s now hard to ignore the promise in this team, so hopefully some higher caliber players will see the Islanders as such. If Garth Snow could finish what he’s started by signing a proper winger to play alongside John Tavares and Kyle Okposo and some solid defensemen, this team will be playoff-bound once again. Snow also just announced that the team will be retaining their 2014 draft pick, which is number 5 overall.

It will be very exciting to see if Snow does indeed make these moves over the summer, but given this Halak signing, it is quite plausible that he could do so. Regardless, I think the entire fan base will be able to sleep soundly now knowing that we no longer have to worry about trying to make a playoff run with an AHL goalie in net.

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