New York Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak had little support in his own end of the ice but didn’t help his own cause in 2017-18.
The goaltending situation with the New York Islanders was an odd one to say the least in the 2017-18 season.
In his contract year, one would expect Jaroslav Halak to elevate his game to a height not seen since the 2014-15 season when he set the Islanders single-season wins record with 38. That’s what you all thought. In reality, what happened was that the defense was barely there, and the netminder failed to steal any games.
The woes of the 2017-18 campaign are not pinned on one player though. The team as a whole gave up 3.57 goals against per game, had the worst penalty kill percentage in the league just over 73 percent and gave up the most shots per game with 35.6. It couldn’t get much worse than that. If the offense was a non-factor Isles fans would be ordering jerseys with “Dahlin” on the back.
Halak’s performance didn’t help the team nor his case to be re-signed for the same amount of money. Finishing with a record of 20-26-6 and tallying one shutout resulted in his lowest win total in a season where he played at least 40 games.
When it comes to Halak’s special teams play, he allowed the most shorthanded goals in his career, giving up seven on the man-advantage. Of the Islanders 11 shorthanded goals against, that’s 63 percent of them. In that same category, he was also tested the most in his career with 54 shots against while the Islanders were on the power play.
One of the issues was that Halak was severely average in the advanced categories.
According to Corsica.hockey, in all of the low, middle and high-danger opportunities, his numbers fall within the middle of his career numbers. Therefore, no part of Halak’s game stood out in a positive manner. His regular save percentage was third worst in his career and worst as a starter with 90.8 percent.
Let’s not forget, there were a lot of close games this season based on the final score. There were 12 instances when Halak gave up three or fewer goals and the Islanders lost. With the seventh-best offense in the league at 3.18 goals per game, the Isles should be able to pull out at least half of those.
Also, if there’s any confusion on whether the season was lost because of Halak or the defense, look at teammate Thomas Greiss. The German goaltender had the worst season statistically of his career with an 89.2 save percentage. His goals against average (3.82) was the worst among goalies who played 20 or more games. Clearly, neither goaltender had much help.
So the current issue now is whether or not to re-sign the Slovak netminder.
That’s dependent on if the Isles plan on acquiring a goaltender via trade. Greiss has yet to prove that he can handle the load of a full season. A short-term deal worth about $3-to-3.5 million for two years wouldn’t be horrible.
Until Ilya Sorokin or Linus Soderstrom prove they are the real deal, there is no one in the pipeline.
Final Grade: C-
The point is clear. Neither Halak nor Greiss was solid by any means in the 2017-18 season. That being said, there was little to no support for most of the games. Halak managed to keep the Islanders close in a large number of games.
However, his failure to steal a couple of wins (i.e. via shutout) had a big part to do with his grade. A goalie can’t steal them all, but to have only 20 wins and one shutout in a starting role is less than expected.