New York Islanders Goaltending Situation: Will Rick DiPietro Be a Factor?

Michael DeSantis@@dtrain2495Senior Analyst IAugust 15, 2011

PITTSBURGH, PA - FEBRUARY 02:  Brent Johnson #1 of the Pittsburgh Penguins gets in a left against Rick DiPietro #39 of the New York Islanders at Consol Energy Center on February 2, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The Penguins shut out the Islanders 3-0.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Islanders' crease will be crowded with training camp right around the corner. The Islanders have just about a handful of possible goalies to use in the upcoming season.

There's Evgeni Nabokov, Rick DiPietro, Kevin Poulin and Al Montoya.

After not reporting to the Islanders last year, due to reportedly not being ready to play at the NHL level again just yet, former San Jose Shark Evgeni Nabokov said he will report to the Islanders training camp this season. Whether Snow's plan is to trade him or to play him, Nabokov will be an Islander.

I'd believe Nabokov is a possible front runner in the competition, as he's a former Vezina finalist and one of the better goaltenders in the game. He has 293 career wins, a .912 Save Percentage and a 2.39 Goals Against Average.

Next, there's Kevin Poulin. Last season, the 21-year-old rookie was impressive for the Islanders before getting injured during practice. He had a 4-2-1 record, with a .924 save percentage and 2.44 GAA.

Poulin would be a good consideration, but with the many goalies on the team, I think it'd be smart to let Poulin play another year or two in the minors to properly season him.

Al Montoya was released by the Rangers a few seasons ago before being picked up by the Islanders. Little did they know he'd be coming to their rescue after DiPietro got himself injured again.

Montoya was fantastic for the Islanders, going 12-6-5, with a .922 save percentage and 2.34 GAA. I definitely think he'll be a factor on the team in the upcoming season.

Then there's Rick DiPietro. Last season, DiPietro played only 26 games, with an injury shortened season. Not much of a surprise. His record last season was 8-14-4, with a lousy .886 save percentage, and an even scarier 3.44 GAA.

He'll obviously be in the competition, however, for the Isles' goaltending situation.

Now, it's a long shot, but DiPietro may not even be a factor this season. The Isles have claimed DiPietro's spot on the team isn't certain, he's going to have to earn it.

While I think Poulin should stay in the minors, I'd personally give the nod to Montoya and Nabokov. DiPietro is too prone to injury, as any Isles fan already knows. Nabokov and Montoya have proven themselves to be much better goalies.

Although it's not exactly likely, there's a good chance DiPietro may not make the team, or play a small role if Nabokov doesn't get traded.

My prediction is that the Isles will keep Nabokov, and use him and Montoya as their goalies for the upcoming season. The duo could help the Isles possibly make the playoffs if they play as good as they can.