New York Islanders: How Al Montoya Justified Evgeni Nabokov's Contract Extension

Michael DeSantisSenior Analyst IMay 3, 2012

The Senators celebrate after scoring on Montoya and the Isles
The Senators celebrate after scoring on Montoya and the IslesBruce Bennett/Getty Images

You're probably all asking, "How can someone else justify another player's contract?"

A lot of you probably knew the answer: "Because of his play."

Evgeni Nabokov received the one-year contract extension before he got injured in the final stretch of the regular season. That's when Al Montoya closed out the season.

But Montoya struggling down the line basically justified Nabokov getting the contract. Now Montoya has to worry about his job and may very well end up on another team.

Montoya allowed 24 goals in the last five games he played to end the season. That's horrendous. That's close to five goals a game. No team is going to win many games like that.

Montoya's only saving grace is that the Isles might have thrown in the towel as they haven't played as hard down the stretch. But that's just a possibility.

To end the season, Montoya's had a 9-11-5 record, a .893 save percentage (SV%) and a 3.10 goals against average (GAA). The record isn't too bad—the Islanders didn't have a stellar season—but the save percentage and goals against average are very ugly numbers.

Nabokov had a great first season with the Islanders(19-18-3 record, .914 SV%, 2.55 GAA).

Those numbers are pretty good considering that the Isles' defense corps is one of the worst in the league and does not get help very often.

You could say Montoya was in the same boat, but the stats don't lie. Nabby got the job done. Montoya couldn't handle it.

Sadly, Montoya was having a fine season before he was concussed by Evander Kane of the Winnipeg Jets. That's no excuse to keep him as a starting goaltender when they can go back to Nabokov.

Montoya's play down the stretch only makes Garth Snow feel better about signing Nabokov to another season.

Nabby definitely earned the contract with his own stellar play, I'm not saying that he didn't. However, Montoya helped prove that Nabby's the one who can help get the Islanders to the playoffs next year.