Isles Sign Halak
In what should end Islander fans' goalie worries, the team announced a today that it signed goalie Jaroslav Halak to a four-year contract extension worth $18 million. Halak was acquired a few weeks ago from Washington for a 4th round pick, a price that was a no-brainer then and looks even better now.
The team went into the off-season with a clear need to upgrade in net and the veteran Halak offers just that and at 29-years old, figures to be in his prime throughout the duration of the contract. It's the first time since a healthy Rick Dipietro in 2007 that the Islanders are going into the season with a number 1 goalie on the upswing and with a real chance to solidify the position long-term.
Halak does not come without questions though. His durability is a concern and whether or not he can be a 60 game goalie or more. However, he has been productive in his career, mainly in Montreal and St. Louis, and represents a significant upgrade in net for the Islanders.
While this author has been critical of general manager Garth Snow in the past for his ability (or inability) to piece together a quality roster, today he deserves full marks. He signed a quality goaltender to a fair contract. A few more signings like that and Snow may actually have a chance to re-write the narrative about his general manager tenure here.
It should come as no surprise that this news came only moments after the Islanders announced they will officially be retaining its first round pick this year and instead send Buffalo its first rounder next year to complete the Thomas Vanek trade. With quality goaltending in the mix, there is no reason why this team should be picking in the bottom-5 next year at the draft.
And for long-suffering Islander fans, today represents a giant leap forward in terms of improving the roster, and we can only hope this is the sign of things to come this summer.
Follow me @mikepac23 for more of my thoughts and @TCLIsles for Islander news and analysis.