Last season Islanders fans found themselves watch the team go through six goalies, with a variety of injuries, transactions and poor performances bringing players to and from Long Island.
With the Islanders' core of players starting to come of the right age to really put something special together, it is time for the team to figure out their goalie situation and attempt to at least set a good foundation. Of course injuries are bound to happen, but with the amount of capable goalies the Isles have around, there should be some sort of organization.
With that in mind, I am going to run through all the Islanders' goalie options, and discuss how they did last year and their impact on the team this season.
As always, feel free to comment below.
When the Islanders traded a sixth-round pick for Al Montoya in the middle of last season I personally did not think much of it, other than that the Islanders were adding a piece of much-needed depth.
Instead, Montoya developed into the Islanders' best goalie option in the second half of the season, and he finished the season off with a very respectable 2.39 goals against average and a save percentage of .921.
The Islanders rewarded Montoya for his great work over the summer when they gave him a contract extension, meaning he will be back in net in Long Island this year (the extent of which is still in question, as he should have some stiff competition from a few of the other netminders on this list).
By now anyone who has even remotely paid attention to the NHL the past few years knows the story of Rick DiPietro; and how the Islanders selected him first overall and then gave him a monster contract in both money and, more importantly, in length, only to see him get hurt time in and time out.
Well, once again Islanders fans can hope that this upcoming season will be the one that DiPietro stays healthy and makes it all worth it. And if he is able to stay on the ice, he will be in net a few times a week for the Isles.
The thing that should worry Islanders fans the most is even when DP was in goal last season, he struggled a lot. His save percentage of .886 and his goals against of 3.44 pale in comparison to some of the other players on this list.
The Islanders have put too much money into DiPietro not to put him on the ice if he is healthy, and unfortunately, that may not actually benefit the team.
In many ways Evgeni Nabokov is the wild card in this whole situation. If he plays up to the level he used to with the Sharks, he will be the top goalie; but if his past year in Russia is any sign, he will be a bust.
The even bigger question is: Will Nabokov even show up and play like he has said he will?
Nabokov has seven seasons with the Sharks with a goals against average under 2.5, but last year it was over 3.0 for just the second time in his career.
Nabokov could be a steal for the Islanders, but he could also cause a lot more headaches and distractions than the team needs.
If he shows up though, he is sure to get a chance to play on Long Island and prove he still has it.
Kevin Poulin was called into emergency work last season when Rick DiPietro went down with an injury in January.
While most Islanders fans, and I imagine the front office as well, would have liked Poulin to develop more at the AHL level, when thrown into the fire he showed he could handle it.
Poulin finished off the season with 10 appearances, and actually led the team in save percentage with .924.
Of course Poulin ended up getting hurt himself, and was forced to have season-ending surgery. Since then not much had been said about his availability at the start of the season, but coming off knee surgery I'm sure the Islanders want to take no chances.
That being said, it is not out of reach to think Poulin could be back up at some point next season, whether it's because Nabokov doesn't show or because of another injury to DiPietro.
With the departure of Nathan Lawson, the Islanders are going to be looking at Mikko Koskinen for those spot starts if a few players go down with injuries.
Last season Koskinen was called up for a few games and was actually the only Islanders goalie with a winning record at the end of the season (even if it was only 2-1).
I don't think Islanders fans should expect to see much of Koskinen this season, as he seems to be the fifth man in a rotation that would, at max, have a three on Long Island.
Of course crazier things have happened, so don't forget about Koskinen.
Came across this gem of Al Montoya and Rick DiPietro going at it in 2007.
I know a lot of people have expressed their opinions on what the Islanders are going to do in this situation, so I might as well give my two cents as well.
I think the first third of the season the Islanders are going to give Montoya, DiPietro and Nabokov an equal chance to win the starting spot.
They are then going to eliminate one and start to transition into a two-goalie roster in the middle third of the season—with the final third of the season going to whoever has performed and stayed healthy throughout.
Of course this could all be thrown for a loop if anyone gets hurt, but that's the nature of the business.
If I were to pinpoint one of the goalies on this list to start for the Islanders if they were to make the playoffs, it would be Montoya. I think last season was only a taste of the future for him.
Feel free to comment below what you think the Islanders will do with their goalie situation and who you think the starter will be months from now.