The New York Islanders have finally sorted out their goaltending woes. They've gone from a horrible goaltending situation to a great situation.
Rick DiPietro will look to have a good healthy season and regain top status. Al Montoya proved he is a reliable goalie when he took over as the No. 1 last season, and Evgeni Nabokov has officially declared he will attend the Islanders' training camp this season.
When at their best, those are three pretty strong NHL goaltenders. But despite what some believe, the Islanders should not trade Montoya or Nabokov.
Despite his poor play in Russia and in the World Championships, Nabby can still be a reliable NHL-level goaltender. If the Detroit Red Wings wanted him so badly, he must be worth something. Having Nabokov in net could help the Islanders reach the playoffs.
Montoya was an emergency goalie that the Islanders signed last season when DiPietro injured himself fighting Brent Johnson. But Montoya didn't disappoint, and has actually made Isles fans fall in love with him. His stellar play should earn him a spot on the roster this season.
And finally, Rick DiPietro. Despite some more injuries last season, DiPietro will look to have a bounce-back year after posting an .886 save percentage and a 3.44 goals against average, the worst in the league. If he is healthy for a full year, there is a chance DiPietro can regain his form prior to all the injuries and once again be a reliable No. 1 goaltender.
Do you think the Islanders should keep 3 goalies at the NHL level?
With three reliable goaltenders, people may still think that we should trade Nabokov. We should keep Nabby in case DiPietro gets injured again.
But we still can call up Kevin Poulin, right? I definitely would not want to have to call up Poulin, Anders Nilsson or Mikko Koskinen from Bridgeport. The team should keep Nabokov, DiPietro and Montoya in the NHL, so the three younger netminders can properly season in the AHL.
The team learned its lesson when forward Josh Bailey didn't develop properly after a quick call-up. Goaltenders and forwards are different, but why risk it when there's no need?
We should let Nabokov play here for a few seasons, as well as hold on to Montoya. Montoya is only 26 years old and can be a part of this team for the long term.
The Islanders should let Poulin, Nilsson and Koskinen properly develop in the minors, so they can be at their best when they are needed in a few seasons.
That would be the best path for an Isles team that already has a bright future.