Al Montoya Jets to Winnipeg, Leaves Door Open for Poulin and Nilsson
The New York Islanders were active on the first day of free agency when they signed Brad Boyes, Matt Carkner, and Eric Boulton, but the team has lost a couple of players that Islanders fans have grown to know over the past NHL seasons. (Clydeorama/Flickr)
While P.A Parenteau signed on with the Colorado Avalanche, the Winnipeg Jets and Al Montoya came to terms on a one year deal worth $601,000. Montoya's departure might have upset some fans that grew accustomed to the goalie as he put up impressive numbers in 21 games during the Isles' 2010-2011 NHL season. However, injury and inconsistency plagued Montoya during the 2011-2012 NHL season as he performed to the tune of a 9-11-5 record, 3.11 GAA, and .893 Save Percentage.
Montoya could have used some help from his defense at times last season, the goalie's departure from Long Island might just pave the way for the arrival of either Anders Nilsson and Kevin Poulin. Rick DiPietro might be in the Isles' netminding situation, but fans will have to wait until the pre-season starts before a judgment can be made on the goalie's status. While DiPietro's status and readiness for NHL duty might not be apparent for a couple of months, Evgeni Nabokov will most likely try to establish himself as the team's number one goalie during the pre-season.
Barring any injury, DiPietro will probably be in the fold for a job with the Isles, but Nilsson and Poulin will both be waiting in the wings as the pair of goalies have had some experience in NHL games over the last couple of seasons. After Anders Nilsson was given a rough introduction to the NHL by the Pittsburgh Penguins last season, the goalie performed very well during his second call-up with the big club. On the other hand, Kevin Poulin could also get the nod if one of the Isles' goalies winds up on the injured reserve. Poulin had a great stretch with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL and could receive some serious consideration based on the way that he starts his 2012-2013 AHL season.
Montoya's departure leaves the Islanders without the goaltending carousel that they started the 2011-2012 NHL season with. While a trio of goalies gave the Islanders a good insurance policy in case of an injury, the scenario also created a logjam that made it difficult to establish a clear number one goalie for the team. If Nabokov and DiPietro can stay healthy, then the duo can shoulder a good amount of work for New York in the upcoming season.
Predicting the outcome of the 2012-2013 NHL season for the Islanders is probably a fruitless task at this point and time, but it is well known the team has some attractive insurance policies waiting in Bridgeport in case something happens to Nabokov or DiPietro. The additions of Lubomir Visnovsky and Matt Carkner will probably round out the Islanders defense for the 2012-2013 season and Islanders goalies might be the beneficiary of a stronger defensive core. There might be some time left until the upcoming NHL season begins, but Isles fans can look forward to the fact that the team has a variety of options in goal that they can rely on for the near future.